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main,stks 363.973K95ZL92 
Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania; 


A Study in 



The Telegraph Press 
New York-Harrisburg, Pa. — 1936 

Copyright 1936, by 
Emerson H. Loucks 

rights reserved, including the right to reprodi 
this book or portions thereof, in any form 



— ■ ^ 

Printed in the United States of America 
by The Telegraph Press, Harrisburg, Pa. 


M' Chapter I : Some Beginnings of Nativism 1 

Nativism as a phase of cultural adjustment— The colonial background 
of nativism— Its expression during the early years of the Republic — 
The Brutus Letters— The Native American Party: its principles and 
influence— The Rise of Know-Nothingism— The effect of the slavery 
controversy upon nativism— Post Civil War foreign immigration— The 
School Policy of the Roman Catholic Church— The founding of the 
American Protective Association— Its propaganda and political history. 

)^Chapter II : The Revival of the Ku Klux Klan 15 

Xhe- i>Fcr -e qu i&^ tie s- o f nativ i^sm--ami-4bei-g--i^««^Ge--in-4h&-post-'World 
W-a-F-f>€fied— The re-establishment of the Ku Klux Klan- Its founder 
— The role of the Southern Publicity Association in its growth — 
The spread of Klan violence— Press exposures and governmental in- 

Chapter III : The Klan Moves Into Pennsylvania ... 25 

Early organizers : Atkins and Rich — Provincial organization — The use 
of local men as Kleagles— Early difficulties— The northern conspiracy 
against Atlanta — Progress in eastern Pennsylvania — Freeman's admin- 
istration—Trouble with the "Dutch" — Estimated membership — Rea- 
sons for its growth — Characteristics of Klan literature — The strategy 
of Klan "lecturers" — The handicaps of its critics— Belief in the Klan 
as an instrument of reform — Emphasis on personal rather than in- 
stitutional reform. 

Chapter IV: The Klan Changes Hands: Progress in 

Pennsylvania Under the Evans Regime .... 45 

The plan to oust Simmons from administrative control of the Order — 
D. C. Stephenson's cooperation and his reward — The successful cul- 
mination of this efTort — The efifect of Evans' control upon the South — 
The Evans-Stephenson regime in Pennsylvania — Increased use of 
demonstrations — The Carnegie, Scottdale and Lilly riots — The local 
press and Klan publicity — Cross burnings — The types of people who 
joined the Order. 

)/ Chapter V: The Organization of the Klan 62 

The adoption of a written constitution — The subdivisions of the 
"empire" — The "imperial" government — The organization and powers 
of the national Klonvokation — The Kloncilium as a judicial and ad- 
visory body — The centralization of power in the office of the Imperial 
Wizard — The "Realm" organization — Provisional and chartered stages 
— The control of the Kloreros by the Grand Dragons — Provincial or- 
ganization — The organization of the local klantons — The Kleagle's 



Oath of Loyalty te IraporiaJ- Wizafd Evans— The advantages of secur- 
ing charters— The Iceal- an<{ -"sraod" Tribanals^Subadiary organiza- 
tions : The Knights KameHia and rCiiights of the Great Forest— The 
mihtary order: Klavahers— The mihtary line of communication— 
I-inancing the Order— Klectokens— Imperial and realm taxes— Local 
dues— An estimate of the total expense of maintenance. 

■. / 

,\ Chapter VI : The Klan and Klansmen : Fraternalism 86 

Importance of the emphasis on fraternalism— Social and recreational 
activities of the Order: their number and characteristics— Klan 
charities--The loose methods used— Later committee organization and 
control— Character of the recipients of Klan charity— The Abbott and 
Lilly iunds— Klan Haven— Fraternalism as a business asset— Klan 
boycotts against opposition groups— Klan operated businesses— The 
National Service Club— The Empire Mutual Insurance Company- 
Local Klan-sponsored business enterprises. 

y Chapter VII: The Klan and the State: Political 

Activities 97 

Political potency of minority blocs— Assertion of the right of nativists 
to control the nation's culture— The inevitability of political action as 
an outgrowth of Klan dogma— The selection of candidates for public 
office— Criteria used— Secrecy as a political asset— The negative char- 
acter of the Klan's political action— The fear of the unity and political 
power of the Catholic Church— The inherent weakness of Protestant- 
't^"?~ •''^ opposition to Catholic candidates and office-holders- 
Relative inactivity of the Rich regime-Local Klan support given 
Pmchot— Hostility to LaFollette's candidacy— Increased political 
activity under Herbert C. Shaw-The anti-Smith campaign— Analysis 
of the presidential vote-The Klan's legislative program for Penn- 
sylvania— Basis of hostility to the World Court and the League of 
Mations— The flurry over "the Mexican Question." 

y Chapter VIII : The Klan and the Church : Religious 

Activities of the Order Ug 

The prolific use of familiar religious vocabulary and symbolism— The 
Klan's early religiosity— The Kansas City Klonvokation— Devotions 
at local and state meetings— Klan hymnology— Church visitations— 
Lttect of the Klan upon the religious life of its members- Its efTect 
upon church membership— Evidence of its devisive efTect upon certain 
parishes— Its efTect upon the ministers who became members— Four 
cases— Its efTect upon Protestant-Catholic relationships. 

X Chapter IX: The Klan and the Schools : Educational 

Activities of the Order I34 

The issues involved in "the school question"— The attitude of the 
Catholic Church relative to education— The Klan criticism of Catho- 

, P^''°^ '^t',"'~'^''^ ^'^"'^ °^ principle of "democratic con- 
trol — Ihe Klan and consolidation of school districts— Its support of 


a Federal Department of Public Education-Klan cntena of the 
"American" public school— Klan attempts to secure daily Bible read- 
ing from an accepted Protestant text-Insistence ui^n the display of 
thi American flag-Hostility to Catholic teachers-Paucity of results 
—Efforts against certain text-books and symbols of alienism and 
"Catholicism"— The education of Klansmen— The National Depart- 
ment of Education and Publicity of the Order. 

X Chapter X : The Women of the Ku Klux Klan 


The charterino- of the women's Order— Subsidies granted by the 
men's Order— Attempts to absorb existing women's nativist societies 
—Elevation of Miss Robbie Gill to the office of Imperial Commander- 
Initial efforts to organize the women in Pennsylvania— Mary I. Good- 
win's leadership— The cooperation of the men's Order in recruiting— 
The political, religious and educational activities of the women s Order 
—The emphasis on charities— Klan Haven Association- The burning 
of the Home— Efforts of the men's organization to get control of the 
Association— Its reorganization under joint control— Growing interfer- 
ence of the men with the women's Order— The ousting of Mrs. Good- 
win—The Detroit Klonvokation— The Cantey-Winter feud m Phila- 
delphia—The secession movement within the women's Order. 

Chapter XI: The Decline of the Ku Klux Klan in 
Pennsylvania : Dissatisfaction in the Eastern 

Rapid decline after 1925— The effect of changed conditions— Growing 
dissention within the Order— Bad leadership— The disturbing radicals 
—Political factionalism— Effect of arbitrary banishments— Hostility to 
Winter's leadership in Philadelphia— His persecution of Cantey and 
Laubach— The organization of the Super Secret Society— Its activities 
—The retaliation of the K. D. of F.— Resultant disorganization. 

Chapter XII: The Decline of the Ku Klux Klan in 

Pennsylvania: Revolt in Province II 176 

The movement to oust Sam Rich— The Westmoreland County Klan's 
"Bill of Complaint"— The cooperation of Allegheny and other 
counties in the movement— The forced trial of Rich and his subsequent 
banishment— The temporary Grand 'Dragons : Robinson and Spratt— 
The controversy over the ratification of Herbert C. Shaw — His un- 
popularity in western Pennsylvania— Ths famous $100,000 damage 
suit against the leaders of the dissatisfied Klansmen— The nature of 
the evidence submitted— The defeat of the Klan— Its loss of_ prestige 
and membership in western Pennsylvania— The metamorphosis of the 
Klan into local social clubs. 

Critical Essay on Bibliography 200 

Index . . . , 210 



The revived Ku Klux Klan and its stormy career is but one 
chapter in the history of American nativism. Other eventful 
chapters were written by the American Protective Association, 
by the Know Nothings and by many lesser organizations. Indeed, 
if one digs beneath the peculiar veneer given to nativism by the 
cult of national patriotism, it is easy to observe the same funda- 
mental forces at work which have everywhere characterized the 
difficult process of adjustment between groups of differing cul- 
tures. In recent history the nation-state has increasingly become 
the center of popular loyalty. Hence protection of the recognized 
"national culture" against "alien influences" is felt to be especially 
virtuous. In an earlier age Hussites, Albigenses or Moors were 
the "aliens." Different times produce different vocabularies. 
Nativism to its devotees is the modern orthodoxy. • : 

As the Ku Klux Klan was not the first chapter, so there is 
good reason to believe that it will not be the last chapter in the 
nativistic phase of cultural* conflict and adjustment. Whenever 
circumstances combine to make the process sufficiently painful, 
nativists will again rally to engage "aliens" and their sympathizers 
in combat. The succession of nativist movements in the United 
States has produced little change in principles. Some refinements 
in procedure have occurred. The Know Nothings, for instance, 
warned by their predecessors of the 1830's and 1840's of the 
futility of attempting political action through a separate nativist 
party, learned to bore within the existing party structure and 
use it effectively. The American Protective Association in the 
1890's and the recent Ku Klux Klan both learned the value of 
secrecy from the earlier Know Nothings. The next nativist move- 
ment could profit much by the experience of the Klan. One 
wonders whether the disaster occasioned by poor leadership and 
indiscriminate membership will be remembered. 

'"Cultural" is used here and throughout this work in its broad connotation to in- 
i.lude economic, political, religious and social factors — the mores in general, 


Of peculiar value to the historian of national culture are the 
periods when nativism becomes militant. It is during these periods 
that the population tends to separate into rather well defined 
classes which differ in their fundamental loyalties. The numbers 
within these classes can then be measured with some accuracy and 
their effectiveness as pressure groups in society can be determmed. 

This study was undertaken with the conviction that a detailed 
picture of the Ku Klux Klan limited to a relatively small part 
of the "Invisible Empire" would prove more valuable than a 
more general but necessarily more superficial study. It would, 
moreover, serve as a needed check upon the earlier general ac- 
counts. The author chose the "Realm" of Pennsylvania as a 
field for research primarily because the growth, leadership and 
methods of the Klan in Pennsylvania were representative so far 
as the northern and eastern Realms were concerned. Moreover, 
the movement in Pennsylvania was especially interesting for the 
reason that it revealed greater persistence in this state than in 
any other state of the Union. While Klan membership never 
reached as high a total in Pennsylvania as in some other states— 
notably Texas, Ohio, Florida and Michigan— the paying member- 
ship in every other state had fallen below that of Pennsylvama 
by 1930. 

In the preparation of this study, the writer has made every 
effort not only to learn the point of view of the leaders of the 
movement but also to understand the Klan as the ordinary rank 
and file members understood it. Scores of individuals were in- 
terviewed including men who were then active members and men 
whose membership had lapsed or who had deliberately resigned 
from the Order. Their statements were checked and compared 
with each other and/ with the statements of non-Klansmen and 
of anti-Klansmen in their respective communities. 

The task of securing accurate data was not without its peculiar 
difficulties. By 1930. when this study was begun, most of the 
local Klans over the state had been disbanded. Significantly 
enough the records of meetings and activities generally kept by 
local officials were not available. When the Order was discredited 
much of this written material was felt to be dangerously implicat- 
ing or at least to be the basis of possible litigation and was 

consequently destroyed. Again, where there were warring fac~ 
tions within local Klans, materials were often destroyed to pre- 
vent the opposing faction from securing them and, in some cases, 
to thwart the efforts of unpopular state officials who tried to 
collect them. 

The reluctance of many Klansmen to talk freely of their ex- 
perience was due less to conscientious scruples resulting from 
their oaths of secrecy than to other reasons. Certainly in many 
instances it was eloquent testimony of the fear which still re- 
mained in their minds as a result of the threats and recrimination 
and litigation that had characterized former days of active mem- 
bership. Some refused to discuss the Klan unless a friend was 
present as a witness. In the case of one former Realm official, 
a satisfactory interview was secured only after two years of 
efJort. In few cases was the first interview satisfactory; re- 
peated visits had to be made. 

When interviewing the author always submitted credentials 
from the Chairman of his Dissertation Committee, a member of 
the Faculty of Political Science of Columbia University, specify- 
ing the strictly academic nature of the study. Besides, he usually 
had introductions from other Klansmen. Nevertheless, important 
mformation was frequently given only upon promise not to re- 
veal Its source. In consequence, dozens of persons who have 
been very helpful to the writer must remain unacknowledged in 
the pages which follow. 

The author wishes to express his thanks to Rev. John F. 
Strayer whose helpfulness in securing information has been in- 
valuable, and to all those Klansmen, ex-KIansmen, ministers, 
school officials, newspaper editors and others who were courteous 
enough to grant interviews, answer letters of inquiry, or fill in 
questionnaires, supplying the data without which the following 
pages could not have been written. He is, of course, deeply in- 
debted to David Saville Muzzey, Evarts Boutell Greene and John 
A. Krout who, as members of his dissertation committee gave 
invaluable counsel and suggestions. 

Emerson H. Loucks. 

State Teachers College, 
Shippensburg, Pa., 
September, 1936. 


Some Beginnings of Nativism 

"Awake Americans, the liberties and institutions of 
this country are in danger!" — The Omaha American 

The elements of the struggle which found expression in the re- 
cent Ku Klux Klan movement are by no means new phenomena 
in history. The confrontation of peoples of differing economic, 
religious or political beliefs and practices and the consequent 
need of adjustment to each other has always been productive of 
stress and strain. When periods made difficult by such adjust- 
ment have coincided with periods of general instability, open con- 
flict accompanied by violence has not been unusual as is shown 
by the history of the Age of Religious Wars, the Age of Napoleon 
and of Metternich as well as the more recent Post-war Era. 

The organization of the western world into competitive nation- 
states which has been so prominent a characteristic of recent times 
has given a nationalistic emphasis to cultural conflict and some- 
what changed its vocabulary. Nevertheless, the older economic, 
racial and religious elements are all involved. Cultural dififer- 
ences, instead of being merely strange or repugnant, are dis- 
paragingly labeled "foreign" and nativism is the term commonly 
used to designate the movement against all such "alien" elements 
and influences. It is a term, however, which includes more than 
an expressed partiality to the native-born and their culture in 
preference to the foreign-born. In reality it signifies a hostility 
to divergent cultural elements which differentiate many natives as 
well as foreigners from the prescribed national standard. On the 
other hand it is a useful term because the word itself suggests 
the fact that loyalty to the nation and the "true" national culture 
(self-defined by nativists) has been a major source of the 
emotional force and of the prestige which nativism has exploited 
and upon which it has fed and grown, 

2 The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

From the very beginning of our colonial history, the cultural 
struggle in one or another of its fundamental aspects, free from 
its more nationalistic color, has been clearly observable. The 
early "Bible Commonwealth" of Massachusetts, acting on the 
belief that Church and State should "stand together . . . the 
one being helpful to the other," limited the body politic to ap- 
proved church members and mercilessly suppressed political and 
religious dissent, persecuting variants within the Puritan group as 
well as Catholics and Quakers. 

If circumstances required more liberality in the initial adjust- 
ments between religious groups in Maryland and Pennsylvania, it 
will be remembered that outside the scope of the specific adjust- 
ments in each case, there was scant toleration. Denial of the 
Trinity was a capital of¥ense in Maryland. In Pennsylvania at- 
tendance at public worship was required and political privileges 
were limited to Christians. Indeed, in both Pennsylvania and 
Rhode Island, the most liberal of all the colonies, equality of 
political rights continued to be denied to Catholics during the 
early eighteenth century. 

With the winning of independence and with the rapid increase 
of national feeling incident to the Revolutionary War and the 
critical years following, it became more and more prevalent to 
disparage religious and political variants as foreign and un- 
American. Anglican churchmen were among those who suffered 
greatly under charges of disloyalty and alienism. Jefferson and 
his followers, whose anti-Federalist and anti-Trinitarian beliefs 
made them distasteful to many, were damned as "Jacobins." On 
the other hand the aristocratic Hamilton and his "well-born" fol- 
lowers especially among the New England shippers were dubbed 
the "prigarchy" and "the English Junto." 

It is significant that the "defenders of American institutions" 
pushed through Congress as early as 1798 laws increasing the 
residence requirement for citizenship from five to fourteen years, 
subjecting alien residents to deportation without accusation, public 
trial or privilege of counsel and threatening all hostile critics with 
fines and imprisonment. Political debate from Washington's in- 
auguration until the close of the Second War with England, 
stimulated in part by the confusion in Europe, was replete with 
charges and epithets having a peculiarly nativist character — Tiptoe 

Some Beginnings of Nativism 


traitors, Tories, Gallomaniacs, Jacobins, Wild Irish, French 
System-mongers: apostles of anarchy and atheism. One recalls 
Josiah Quincy's taunting remark that Madison's cabinet was 
"composed, to all efficient purposes, of two Virginians and a 
foreigner." Indeed, the number and vocabulary of those who 
might well be called nativists was already large even before the 
threat of the Holy Alliance to "the American system" stimulated 
the growth of both. 

While there have been groups of considerable cultural homo- 
geneity within our population, it is obvious that much diversity 
has always existed among Americans ever since the formative 
years of the Republic. It is evident, too, that the process of 
adjustment among the different cultural groups has been con- 
tinuous. There have been times, however, when that process 
has been characterized by the activities of large and well organized 
nativist movements. In every case these movements have been 
coincident with, or have immediately followed, periods of rapid 
immigration. People have then been most conscious of the 
difficulties of adjustment and the status quo and reactionary 
groups — those most unwilling to see any change from the tra- 
ditional cultural pattern — have been aroused to action. 

A review of the census statistics for the first half of the nine- 
teenth century reveals two things of importance in this connection. 
In 1830 there were in the United States, liberally estimated, but 
400,000 foreign-born out of a total population of 13,000,000.' 
By contrast, there came to this country between 1830 and 1850 
nearly 2,500,000 immigrants.^ Among them were many English, 
Welsh and Scotch with whom little cultural adjustment was 
necessary. More disturbing to the native Americans^ were the 
CathoHc Irish.^' Wearied of their pitiful struggle as tenant 
farmers, violently hostile to everything English bred of years of 
exploitation and loyal followers of their priesthood, they were 
distinguished partly by their extreme poverty but chiefly by their 
cohesion and clannishness. They preferred to work together and 
to live in their own communities. This group cohesion also 
characterized their political activities. Voting as a bloc they 
frequently exhibited strength and astuteness enough to secure 
political appointments and contracts and, in some places, to secure 
the control of ward politics. Moreover, they often organized 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

their own militia companies and became active competitors for a 
share of the public funds to maintain their Catholic parochial 

Samuel F. B. Morse, taking time from his scientific and artistic 
work in 1834, was typical of the nativists who rallied "Americans" 
against this alien group. In a series of open letters written under 
the pseudonym "Brutus" which had wide circulation, he de- 
nounced the Catholics generally as politically dangerous. 

"We say firmly to the Popish Bishops and Priests among 
us, give us your declaration of your relation to our civil 
government. Renounce your foreign allegiance to a Foreign 
Sovereign. Let us have your avowal in an official manifesto, 
that the Democratic Government under which you here live, 
delights you best. . . . Americans demand it."* 

To him the rigorous naturalization law of 1798, later repealed, 
was a half-way measure. He wanted legislation providing that 
"no foreigner who may come into this country . . . shall ever 
be allowed to exercise the elective franchise."^ 

Local action resulted from the growing religious agitation 
whipped up by press and pulpit. In Charlestown, Massachusetts, 
an Ursuline convent was burned. In New York City a "Carroll 
Hall" ticket was opposed by an "American Protestant Union" 
over the question of sectarian schools, an issue which kept the 
nativist movement alive and resulted, in 1843, in the organization 
of the American Republican Party. 

Although local in most of its aims, pledging its candidates to 
repeal the New York School law which had given the Catholics 
control of the public schools in some wards, the American Re- 
publican Party declared in favor of twenty-one years residence 
for voting and the enforcement of complete separation of religion 
and politics. In support of this last policy, it claimed that "Papal 
power is directly opposed in its end and aim to a republican form 
of government."'' 

By 1844, nativism had taken on national proportions, spreading 
from New York and Pennsylvania into Connecticut, Massachu- 
setts, Maryland, Delaware, and South Carolina. Politically organ- 
ized as the Native American Party, it held its first national con- 
vention in Philadelphia in 1845 with fourteen states represented-'' 

Some Beginnings of Nativism 


The "Declaration"® of the convention contained a lurid descrip- 
tion of the United States "rapidly becoming the lazar-house and 
penal colony of Europe ;" of immigrants "sent to work a revolu- 
tion from republican freedom to the divine right of monarchs ;" 
of an imperium in imperio, "a body uninformed and vicious, 
foreign in feeling, prejudice, and manner, yet armed with a vast 
and often controlling influence over the policy of a nation whose 
benevolence it abuses and whose kindness it habitually insults." 
Nor did the nativists of this time have much hope that an environ- 
ment of political freedom would Americanize the newcomers. 

"We hold that with few exceptions no man educated under 
one system of government can ever become thoroughly im- 
bued with the essence and spirit of another system essentially 
different in character." 

"That no man can eradicate, entirely, the prejudices and 
attachments associated with the land of his birth, so as to 
become a perfectly safe depository for political trust, in any 
other country."* 

The nativist movement was not confined exclusively to the sea- 
board cities or states. Wherever the immigrant was present in 
sufficient numbers to make adjustment with the native population 
difficult the movement grew apace. There was a strong nativist 
group in Cincinnati where, by 1840, half of the voting population 
were of foreign birth. Further west, St. Louis and New Orleans 
were greatly affected and many smaller communities came under 
the control of the Native Americans. 

In Pennsylvania, Philadelphia was a center of the movement. 
In 1844 it suffered a veritable warfare between the nativists and 
the Irish over the use of the Protestant version of the Bible in 
the public schools. There was much bloodshed and destruction 
of property and it was necessary to call out the militia three times 
to stop the rioting." 

Similar rioting occurred in many places giving the movement 
an unsavory reputation and alienating many of its more conserva- 
tive members. The Democratic Party had denounced the nativists 
as bigots from the very beginning of the movement and the Whigs 
turned against them in 1844 blaming their activities for the de- 
feat of Henry Clay, the Whig candidate for President in that 
year. By 1847, the local Native American organizations had 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

largely lost their power with the exception of the one in Phila- 

The very year which marked the disorganization of the 
American Republican Associations, however, witnessed the Irish 
famine and the beginning of another great migration from the 
Emerald Isle. Only about half a million had come in the decade 
of the thirties. In the forties the total was over one and a half 
millions and in the fifties 2,707,620 entered the country.^^* In 
the year 1850 the natives of Ireland constituted 43.04 per cent of 
the alien population. Moreover, immigration was further swollen 
by Gennans who, dissatisfied with the failure of the 1848 revolu- 
tionary movements, came in large numbers exceeding, after 1852, 
the Irish. 

Corresponding to the growth of the foreign population was that 
of the Catholic Church. In 1830 there were but 230 Catholic 
churches and 232 priests in the United States and the Catholic 
population was estimated by their own statisticians at half a 
million. By 1854 these numbers had grown to 1,712 churches, 
746 other stations, 1,574 priests and over a million and a half 
total Catholic population.^* 

It is not surprising, therefore, that there was a revival of 
nativism during the decade of the 1850's. A new turn was given 
to the movement by the adoption of the methods of the numerous 
secret societies that had sprung up in part imitation of the Masons, 
Odd Fellows, Red Men and the like. The nativist secret society 
destined to be the most successful was the Order of the Star 
Spangled Banner, formed in 1850 with a poHcy "to influence 
local politics by concerted action of its members in favor of 
nominees selected from the tickets of the political parties (who 
were) protestant and American-born."^'* 

Using secret rituals, grips, signs, degrees, meetings and play- 
ing upon the curiosity as well as the nativistic sentiments of 
the people, this Order of the Star Spangled Banner grew until 
in 1855 it had State Councils in thirty-two states and a claimed 
membership of a million and half voters." 

Under the popular name of Know Nothing Party, the Order 
repeated the same charges against the foreigners and Catholics 
and made the same demands for reform as had the nativists of 

Some Beginnings of Nativism 7 

the 1830's and 1840's. The pubUshed declaration of principles 
prepared by President Barker of the Order included the following: 

"Americans shall rule America. . 

No sectarian influence in our legislation or m the admmis- 
tration of American laws. 

Hostility to the assumptions of the Pope, through the 
Bishops, Priests, and Prelates of the Roman Catholic Church 
here in a Republic sanctified by Protestant blood. 

Thorough reform in the Naturalization laws. 

Free and liberal educational institutions for all sects and 
classes with the Bible, God's Holy Word, as a universal 

The primary elections of 1854 revealed the growing strength of 
the Know Nothings. Secretly choosing their own candidates, they 
elected persons not known to be running for the offices. Two 
such surprise candidates were elected in Lancaster^* and one in 
Allegheny, Pennsylvania.^" In Philadelphia the Know Nothing 
candidates' for Mayor, Solicitor, Comptroller, and for a majority 
of the City Council were successful. In the fall elections the 
Know Nothings elected practically all their candidates to the 
legislature as well as to every other state office in Massachusetts.'" 
In New York they polled over one-fourth of the total vote cast." 
In Pennsylvania as a whole the Know Nothing vote was two- 
fifths of the total. In Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Blair, 
Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Dauphin, Huntingdon, Lancaster, 
Lebanon, Mifflin and Perry Counties the Know Nothings polled a 
majority of the votes.-^ 

But along with the increasing membership in 1855 and 1856 
grew internal dissention. The secrecy which had been character- 
istic of the movement was now criticized from within as well as 
from without the Party. The Oath of Admission was believed 
by some to be too severe. The declaration against "the aggressive 
policy and corrupting tendencies of the Roman Catholic Church" 
was criticized as too harsh by the Maryland delegates who pro- 
posed a milder substitute. The result of this dissatisfaction was 
the adoption in 1856 of a conciliatory policy by the National 
Council of the Party which sanctioned "the reform of state Know 
Nothing constitutions" and suggested the substitution of a "pledge 
of honor" for the existing oath of admission. The Council like- 
wise advocated "free and open discussion of political principles." 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

This retreat from robust nativism was occasioned by the fact 
that many people had joined the Party more out of disgust with 
the Whig and Democratic parties than because of fundamental 
nativist beliefs. The chief cause of factional discord within the 
Party which resulted in its decline was, however, not differences 
of opinion regarding secrecy, oaths or any of the truly nativist 
principles. It was the question of "bleeding Kansas" that de- 
stroyed the Know Nothing Party. In its national convention of 
1856, the anti-slavery men came prepared to bolt. When their 
resolution was voted down providing that no candidate be nomi- 
nated who favored slavery north of 36 degrees 30 minutes, they 
withdrew from the organization. The remainder of the delegates, 
after much wrangling, finally adopted the squatter sovereignty 
principle which the Douglas Democrats claimed as their private 
property. This lost for the Know Nothings their distinctiveness 
on the chief issue of the time and sealed their doom as a national 
political organization. 

Locally they retained their effectiveness for some time but the 
chief constructive legislation they secured in line with their na- 
tivist principles was the enactment of literacy tests for voting in 
Connecticut and Massachusetts and in the latter state a law re- 
quiring "daily reading in the public schools of some portion of 
the Bible in the common English version." ^* 

The Civil War not only diverted attention from nativism but 
greatly curtailed immigration. After peace was made the immi- 
grant tide swelled rapidly, stimulated by the possibility of securing 
free land under the Homestead Act. Between 1866 and 1873, 
over 2,725,000 foreigners arrived.^* When hard times and in- 
creased economic competition came with the panic of 1873, nativist 
feeling against the foreigner revived. Although no separate 
nativist party appeared, it is significant that the platforms of both 
Republican and Democratic parties contained nativist planks in 
1876. The Republican Party even recommended a constitutional 
amendment preventing the use of public funds or property in 
support of sectarian schools.'*'' 

It was not until the decade of the 1890's, however, that the 
nativists again combined into an organization of national impor- 
tance, named by its founder, Henry F. Bowers, the American 
Protective Association. Begun in Clinton, Iowa, in 1887, it had 

Some Beginnings of Nativism 9 

spread by 1893 into twenty states and had a membership of over 
70 000 Nativism had spread westward with the advancmg popu- 
lation The trans-Allegheny cities-Rochester, Toledo, Detroit, 
Des Moines, Saginaw, Omaha-became important centers of the 
new movement. The country districts of the midwest were also 
affected by this "new Know-Nothingism." The interest of the 
rural areas may be explained in part by the fact that the immi- 
grants who came during the decade of the 1880's in larger num- 
bers than any other nationality were Germans who acquired farms 
and populated the country side.-» 

Like the older nativist organizations, the American Protective 
Association found the cultural item to which it most openly ob- 
jected a religious one. A large percentage of the newcomers from 
Germany were Catholics while in the growing mid-western in- 
dustrial cities, those Germans had been supplemented by Catholics 
from Austria, Italy and Ireland.=« The growth of the Catholic 
Church was rapid. Indeed, it practically doubled m the last 
quarter of the nineteenth century. Instead of seven archbishops 
as in 1860, there were 78. The number of Catholic Churches was 
12 293 as compared with 2,385 in 1860, while the Catholic popula- 
tion grew from 3,177,140 to 7,474,850 dyring the same period.^'" 
The mid-west was not without its share of this growth. To have 
such large numbers of non-Protestant people in their midst was 
a new experience for the A.P.A. belt and its reaction was quite 
like that of the seacoast cities during the forties and fifties. 

Then too, the nativists were envious of the growing industrial 
and professional strength of the Catholics who became doctors, 
lawyers, teachers and editors as well as day laborers. In the great 
railway' and commercial corporations they were filling responsible 
positions and officering trade unions along with men of the 
Protestant faith. The latter, believing themselves to these posi- 
tions born, found in the A.P.A. an organization through which 
they might compete more successfully with the Catholics and again 
"relegate them to the position of hewers of wood and drawers of 
water, their proper place." 

This jealousy of their Catholic competitors was hardly some- 
thing of which the nativists could be very proud nor could it 
be used directly in their campaigns for membership. They turned, 
therefore, to the old arguments : the Catholics were dangerous as 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

citizens ; they were more dangerous as holders of public ofifice 
since their action was always directed, not for the good of all, but 
for the good of their own ecclesiastical body; they were mere 
servants of a foreign potentate whose sympathies were anti- 

Certain occurrences added strength to their claims. A Papal 
delegation headed by Msgr. Satolli came to Washington. The 
Omaha American, commenting on the coming of this "American 
Pope," expressed the nativist sentiment : 

"Why should the country throw open its gates to a pre- 
tender, a blasphemer, a politico-ecclesiastical fraud, who sails 
under the sounding title of vice-regent of God ? . . . Awake 
Americans, the liberties and institutions of this country are 
in danger." 

Many Catholics had also opposed the Edwards compulsory 
school law in Illinois, and the somewhat similar Bennett law of 
Wisconsin. The Catholic Council of Baltimore charged every 
pastor to "build and maintain a distinctly Catholic school in his 
parish as a remedy against the colorless instruction offered in the 
public schools where religious training is, as a rule, excluded." 
The Faribault Plan was proposed in Minnesota whereby the paro- 
chial schools would be maintained and administered by the public 
school authorities with permission given to the Catholics to use 
the schools for religious instruction after school hours.** Catholic 
groups about the same time advocated state aid for parochial 
schools in Maryland and New York.""^ All this appeared to the 
nativists a well laid "Jesuit plot" to destroy the American "non- 
sectarian" public school system. 

Organizers of the American Protective Association who were 
responsible for increasing the membership, made deliberate efforts 
to play upon the fears and credulity of the Protestant people, an 
effort which met with success particularly in the rural areas. 
They spread ill founded rumors regarding Catholic military or- 
ganizations which practiced in secret and hid their arms in 
churches.^" They concocted tales of the immorality to be found 
in convents and monasteries — "hatching houses of infamy." They 
hired speakers who posed as "escaped" nuns and ex -priests.*^ A 
bombastic press, of which the A.P.A. Magazine was typical, 

Some Beginnings of Nativism H 

grew up in support of the movement and printed quantities of 
"disclosures." The Patriotic American, a weekly organ of the 
A P A published in Detroit, created a sensation by printing a 
spurious document ascribed to Leo XIII in which American 
Catholic citizens were absolved from their allegiance to the Umted 
States government. This forgery went on to state that "on or 
about the feast of Ignatius Loyola, in the year of our Lord, 189^, 
it will be the duty of all the faithful to exterminate all heretics 
found within the jurisdiction of the United States of America^ 

The effect of this forgery, which was copied by the A.P.A. 
papers throughout the country, has been described by Elbert 
Hubbard : 

"I was visiting an old farmer friend in Illinois, and very 
naturally the talk was of the great fair. Was he going? Not 
he— he dared not leave his house a single day ; did I not know 
that the Catholics had been ordered by the Pope to burn the 
barns and houses of all heretics? It sounded like a joke but 
I saw the grey eyes of this old man flash and I knew he 
was terribly in earnest. With trembling hands he showed 
me the Pope's encyclical printed in a newspaper which had 
a deep border of awful black . . . I.was taken to the wo 
clergymen in the village, a Presbyterian and a Methodist, 
both were full of fear and hate toward the Catholics . . . 
They w^ere sure that the order to kill and burn had gone 

^^''And so in many towns and villages as I journeyed; I 
found this quaking fear. In many places men were arming 
themselves with Winchester rifles; the A.P.A. lodges were 
rapidly initiating new members and lurid literature which was 
being vomited forth from presses in Louisville, Chicago, 
Omaha, and Kansas City was being sent broadcast. 

Besides the credulous who swallowed wholesale such forgeries 
as the above and the stories peddled from place to place by ex- 
priests, there was another group whose interest in the A.P.A. 
was more calculating. The Know Nothing movement, as we have 
seen had in the beginning merely indorsed candidates who were 
mosi favorable to nativist principles. Later, it placed its own 
ticket in the field. The American Protective Association, on the 
other hand, adopted the shorter way to success by capturing out- 
right in many regions the machinery of the Republican Party. 
The Democratic administration had the misfortune to be held re- 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

sponsible in the popular mind for the hard times and business 
depression in the summer of 1893 and the A.P.A.-ists, where they 
had control of the Republican machinery, were carried to victory 
on the wave of Democratic reaction that swept over the country. 
Politicians and petty office seekers were aware of the strategic 
position held by the A.P.A. and were quite willing to forego any 
deterring scruples in order to partake of the political plums which 
membership in the A.P.A. offered. "Hundreds of new members," 
writes a leading historian of the movement,*" "joined the A.P.A. 
from October 1893 to November 1894, who cared little for its 
anti-Catholic program. They were after the loaves and fishes of 
city and county office and the control or possession of the local 
party machinery." 

Another factor which had some bearing upon the growth of 
the A.P.A. movement was the encouragement given the move- 
ment by those who, opposed to the organization of labor unions, 
saw in it a means to divide the workers and undermine their 
unions. This, rather than any hatred of Catholicism, accounts 
for the willingness of some of the large industrial and transporta- 
tion companies to encourage the religious fanaticism of the 

The movement had several significant results. Politically the 
affiliation of the A.P.A. with the Republican Party in 1892 was 
important. The Catholic vote was largely given to the Democrats 
with the resuh that the strong Republican states of Illinois and 
Wisconsin returned majorities for Cleveland and helped secure 
his election. It is clear, also, that the opposition which the A.P.A. 
directed against Catholic interference with the public schools 
helped to unify Protestant opinion in support of "non-sectarian" 
schools and the complete separation of Church and State. It is 
doubtful, however, whether the public school system was strength- 
ened by the movement, for many Catholics who had loyally sup- 
ported public schools came to regard them as Protestant schools 
and transferred their support to the parochial schools maintained 
by the Catholic Church.*- 

Like the nativist movements which preceded it, the career of 
the A.P.A. was meteoric, disappearing as rapidly as it had risen. 
Without doubt it was successful from the standpoint of local 
politicians and office seekers. But when, in its political capacity, 

Some Beginnings of Nativism 


it made the bad mistake of refusing to indorse the candidacy of 
McKinley in the election of 1896, it relegated itself to a mere 
faction of the Republican Party and its political hangers-on began 
to leave it like rats from a falling house. Although the A.P.A. 
preserved its national organization up to 1900, its history as a 
factor of political importance might be said to have ceased in 1896. 

Based largely upon emotion, the movement was difficult to 
maintain. In spite of fears, barns were not burned nor were 
"heretics" slaughtered. The more sober elements among the 
Protestant groups were hostile to its methods, if not altogether 
opposed to its principles. Fictitious "escaped nuns" were even- 
tually exposed as frauds, the "official" press disappeared from 
want of subscribers, and the movement collapsed. 



T W Brownwell: History of Immigration to the United States ... from 1819 to 
1855. ' (N. Y. 1856) p. 61. 
I' S^'c T^hnton-^History of Emigration from the United Kingdom to North America. 
^' i7^hoi7 (London 1913) PP 39-67, 80-81, 158-159, 176-196. . . . u 

4 Vhes'e eturs were reprin ed u the title of "Foreign Conspiracy Agamst the 

liberties of the United^tates." (N. Y. 1855) See p. 110 et seq. 
5. Ibid. p. 149. , , 

-[""Hlee' "^'X'^^i^U^^Ind'p'ogres 'of -the American Party" (Phila. 1835) p. 229. 
The"e states were Pennsylvania, Massachusetts. New York. New Jersey, Delaware. 
Kentucky! Ohio. Missouri, Mississippi. Georgia, New Hampshire, Vermont. Indiana, 
and North Carolina. 
8. Lee: op. cit. 231-243. 

10. Compare J. B. McMaster: The Riotous Career of the Know Nothings. Forum, vol. 

11. T.' R.' Whitn'eyf'befense of the American Policy, (N. Y. 1856) p. 250 et seq. 

n icinnedy' LCG.: Abstract of the 8th Census of the U. S.. pp. 13 14. 

U. Metropolitan Catholic Almanac and Laity's Directory, I860 P- 266. 

15 L D Scisco: Political Nativism in New York State, (N. Y 1901) p. 65. 

16. T. C. Smith: Parties and Slavery. (N. Y. 1906) pp. 118-119. 

17. L. D. Scisco; op. cit. p. 143. 

18 Philadelphia North American, May 13. 1854. 

20: a H^^HayJes: " "a Kno'w Nothinl'tegislature in Massachusetts. American Historical 

Association Reports, vol. i. p. 178. 
22: New°Vork'Tim;s,^'pl?ember 21, 1854, p. 6. The Pennsylvania Telegraph, Feb. 24, 

23 Th'e^fatform oV'the'^K^ow Nothfng' Party, 1855 (New York Public Library) 
24. The Platform of the Know Nothing Party, 1856 (New York Public Library) 

26-. Li^tica'lTbXact^'o/the United states, 1878. (Washington, 1879) PP. 132, 133. 

27 J. M. Mecklin: The Ku Klux Klan (N. Y. 1924) p. 131. q.,^;,Hr,l 

28 The number of Germans to come during the decade was 1,452,962. Statistical 
Abstract of the U. S., 1891. (Washington, 1892) p. 218. 

29. Srltion during th^ 1880's ; Austrians, 226 020 ; Italians 307,095; Irish. 655.J81. 
Statistical Abstract of the U. S., 1890, (Washington. 1891) p. 207. 

30. World Almanac. 1899. PP. 318, 320. 

51. J. H. Desmond: The A. P. A. Movement (Washington, 1912) p. 10. 

33: kuen!^'c^i.:^Thi^'crthoUcs^and^the Public Schools, Educational Review. Decem- 
ber, 1892. 

14 The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

Refer gnces 

34. Mooney, J. A.; The Catholic Controversy about Education. Educational Review 
March 1892. 

35. Winston, E. M.: Threatening Conflict with Romanism, Forum, June, 1894, p. 428 ff 

36. Hubbard, Elbert: A New Defense. Arena, vol. x, p. 79 et seq. June, 1894. 

37. Desmond; op. cit. Chapter vi. 

38. Patriotic American, April 8, 1893. 

39. Hubbard, Elbert: op. cit. p. 76. 

40. Desmond: op. cit. pp. 28, 32. 

41. Spaulding, J. L.: North American Review, vol. 159, p. 278 et seq. 

42. Compare Desmond: op. cit. p. 40. 

The Revival of the Ku Klux Klan 

"Tn the lovers of Law and Order, Peace and Justice 

Kinea .he excesses o£ P™pa,.o« and h, 

;':t^^rv:;;:;t"Ze .-e 
iseuig cx > u;AAprt from view, strong roots 

SfeleTiZwt-i r .orr L.ea .0 appea. wHen 

-1:::'^:^:^^^ - ^ o: ...... 

legislation of 1903 and iW/. pre-requisites. 
World War did fortune provide the otlier two i h 
The firsTof these was the obliteration of the memory of the 
A P A s excesses The second was a vague but widespread feel- 
ing of 'fear enhanced by the pinch of economic want. 

I is true that prior to the World War some groups -^^^ 
fearful amon- which was the newly estabhshed (1911) Guardians 
of Libertv TlTe First American Catholic Missionary Congress, 

?j;tr%tr; a.tS3J::^J u ..... a 



The Ku, Klux Klak i>; Pennsylvania 

circulation, in 1914, of over 1,400,000. Stili there was no wide- 
spread revival of organized nativism in consequence. The years 
of relative agricultural prosperity after 1900 had a deadly effect 
upon a possible nativist revival in the A.P.A. belt and undoubtedly 
delayed it. 

Largely by chance, the revival of nativism began in the South 
where a movement at first primarily concerned with "white su- 
premacy" was gradually broadened out to include all the tenets 
of the older nativist movements and some new ones as well.(_Jts 
founder was William Joseph Simmons of Atlanta, Georgia. The 
inspiration for his enterprise had come from his boyhood days 
when his most pleasant activity had been to listen to or read of 
the exploits of the Ku Klux Klan and to reenact these in mimic 
drama. "From a child in dresses," explained Simmons, "I can 
remember how old Aunt Viney, my black mammy, used to pacify 
us children late in the evening by telling us about the Kuklux." 
When about twenty years old he found a volume on the Klan 
which especially thrilled him. Laying the book aside he had a 
vision. "On horseback in their white robes they rode across 
the wall in front of me. ... As the picture faded out, I got 
down on my knees and swore that I would found a fraternal 
organization which would be a memorial to the Kuklux Klan." 

There is no evidence, however, except what appears plainly 
apocryphal, to show that Mr. Simmons, when he and a few of 
his friends applied for a charter for a "patriotic, military, benevo- 
lent, ritualistic, social and fraternal order," intended to found a 
nationwide revival of APA-ism or a new Know Nothing move- 
ment. Many writers have speculated upon Mr. Simmons' original 
purpose in establishing the Order. Ward Greene, an Atlanta 
Journal reporter, undoubtedly belittled the imagination of Sim- 
mons when he concluded, after a survey of its origin, that 
"prohibition made the Ku Klux Klan" which was just "a new 
fraternal order with locker club trimmings." ^ On the other hand, 
the dreams credited to Simmons of a great American fraternity 
that knew no Mason's and Dixon's Line undoubtedly err in the 
opposite direction. 

For the success of the new enterprise, its birthplace, the city 
of Atlanta, was important. It had been the seat of publication, 
during the pre-war years, of a bitterly anti-Catholic journal, 

The Revival of the Ku Klux Klan 


The Jeffersonian. Then, like the smaller Pennsylvania cities 
of York and Lancaster, Atlanta, Georgia, is a city of "joiners." 
Simmons himself held membership in two orders, the Masons 
and the Knights of Pythias, at the time he was establishing his 

Simmons had personal characteristics which aided him in his 
enterprise. An impressive person, he stood over six feet tall, 
had a smooth shaven face, clear eyes, and a powerful voice that 
could hold for hours the attention of an average audience. He 
had served as circuit rider in the Methodist Episcopal Church 
for some years, later became professor of History at Lanier Uni- 
versity, was a veteran of the Spanish-American War, although 
his title of Colonel was a complimentary one, and, as one com- 
mentator expressed it, he was "as full of sentiment as a plum is 
full of juice." * One essential characteristic he lacked. He had 
little organizing ability and the movement might have languished 
or remained of purely local significance if other factors had not 
strengthened it. / 

The name of the Order was one of these. As all students of 
society are aware, new institutions gain advantage if they can be 
robed in garments of worthy tradition or resurrected like the 
Deuteronomic Code from the sacred confines of the temple of 
precedent. In choosing his charter members, Simmons included 
two men who had been members of the original Klan, Dr. George- 
DrCouch and Rev. J. F. V. Saul, In order to add prestige to 
the "T^vived Klan and to justify "his claini that the Order was^ 
authentic. The regalia and nomenclature, which Simmons took 
from the earlier organization, served the same purpose. To be 
sure, one had to have a poor memory of history or else the 
prevalent race and color prejudice of the South to accept as valid 
the "sublime lineage" of Simmons' Klan. As a southern frater- 
nity, however, this was an acceptable "talking point." 

The principles of the new Order were the accepted fundamentals 
of Southern thought. Simmons was addressing his own South 
when he wrote: 

"The Knights of the Ku Klux Klan is a purely patriotic 
fraternal organization designed to memorialize the Klan of 
the Reconstruction period and to perpetuate the principles 
for which it stood. ... It stands for the preservation 



The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

of American ideals and institutions, the protection of the 
home, the chastity of womanhood, the maintenance of the 
bloodbought rights and liberties of the Anglo-Saxon race 
. . . The Ku Klux Klan stands unreservedly and un- 
ashamedly for white supremacy in America . . . " 

Any reader of the earlier statements of Mr. Simmons is apt 
to remark, "Well, what of it!" The great mass of southern 
Whites had for years held such sentiments. "White supremacy" 
and "the chastity of womanhood" were certainly safe enough for 
anyone to support but it is difficult to conceive that they needed 
special preachment in Atlanta in 1915 or 1916. Racial antagonism 
had not increased nor were there any events which could lead 
one to foresee the serious riots which later did occur in Chicago 
and elsewhere. There was loud talk by foreign language groups 
in justification of the action of their respective countries in the 
World War but foreign conspiracy had not raised its ugly head 
to endanger the native stock in Atlanta. One is led to conclude 
that Simmons himself was not especially interested in whipping 
negroes or tarring and feathering wicked whites or aliens. He 
was enamoured of the fraternal and the spectacular features of 
the organization. The thought of being clad in a mysterious garb 
and of riding a big horse through the streets of Atlanta possessed 
and fascinated him. 

For a period of four years, however, the growth of the Order 
was almost negligible. Its rapid expansion dates from 1920 when 
Simmons hired the "Southern Publicity Association" to bring the 
Order to the attention of the public. This "Association" consisted 
of two people, one Edward Young Clarke and a Mrs. Elizabeth 
(Bessie) Tyler. Clarke had attained some prestige as a "physi- 
cian for sick towns." At one time he had been employed to 
administer a Har\^est Home Festival in Atlanta. It was there 
that the Association was organized. As Mrs. Tyler tells the 

"I was interested in hygiene work for babies, sort of better 
babies movement. I had taken enough of a medical course 
to fit myself for the work of visiting among the tenements 
and advising mothers about their babies, and in the Harvest 
Home Festival we had a "Better Babies' Parade, of which I 
had charge. It was through this that I met Mr. Qarke. 

The Revival of the Ku Klux Klan 19 

"After we had talked over many business enterprises we 
formed the Southern Publicity Association^ I was associated 
with the Y W C. A. I financed the Southern Publicity 
Association and stayed in the office, and Mr Clarke was field 
representative, planning and working out publicity campaigns 

of one sort and another. ^ , o- ^ ^v,^ ir„ 

"We came in contact with Col. Simmons and the Ku 
Klux Klan through the fact that my son-in-law joined it 
We found Col. Simmons was having a hard time to get 
along He couldn't pay his rent. His receipts were not 
sufficient to take care of his personal needs. He was a min- 
ister and a clean living man, and he was heart and soul tor 
the success of his Ku Klux Klan. After we had investigated 
it from every angle, we decided to go into it with Co . Sim- 
mons and give it the impetus that it could get best from 

^"""H 'was my idea that we would get a little local publicity 
throughout the South or through our section and that^ the 
order would grow by degrees. But the minute we said Ku 
Klux" editors from all over the United States began literally 
pressing us for publicity." ® 

As Mrs. Tyler suggests, the pressure for publicity was not 
altogether due to the skill of either member of the Southern 
Publicity Association. The tabloid press and the rotogravure 
editors of the regular press had a large share in it. Mysterious 
marchers in white robes and peaked hoods were a godsend to them. 

An enterprising newspaper photographer in Atlanta was the 
first to discover the photographic possibilities of the new move- 
ment. Ward Greene in his Notes for a History of the Klan 
has graphically described the incident as follows : 

"Matty tried to get Simmons and Clarke to pose. They 
- refused. A secret order, was it? No faces-just cowls and 
robes and crosses? He had seen "The Birth of a Nation 
and knew his stuff. Off he went, rigged up his umforms, 
hired twenty men, lit a couple of crosses, and turned on the 
Graflex. The pictures sold like wildfire. . . • The New 
York Times played them up in its rotogravure section. No 
dirty digs from any quarter. . . . (And since Matty be- 
lieved in hiring the cheapest labor possible) the first pictures 
of the Klan to be published in America were posed by twenty 
sons of Ham at two bits a man." ^ 

E Y Clarke and Mrs. Tyler were, of course, directly respon- 
sible for the work of promotion. The contract which Simmons 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

made with them was liberal. It was a commission arrangement. 
Of each ten dollar "donation" which was made as a prerequisite 
to membership, they retained eight. After expenses were paid, 
they anticipated a tidy remainder as their personal remuneration. 
It was soon learned that to be effective, the appeal for members 
had to be fitted to each particular locality and that the mere 
rehearsal of the principles of the Order was not sufficient. A 
program of action was more appealing and had to be provided. 
As a consequence of his experience Clarke selected his helpers 
according to their ability to turn the bellows upon smouldering 
fires of racial and religious hatreds and those who encouraged 
night-riding and a free-handed mob justice were winked at. 

The movement grew and violence increased with it. In Texas, 
Georgia and Louisiana, Klan lawlessness became serious and it 
was prevalent in other Southern States. In a few instances the 
Klan used pressure upon its own members to make them behave. 
More frequently, and with much more gusto, it gave its attention 
to outsiders who had not kept the moral code generally held by 
the Klan elements of the community. If the offense had been 
committed by a Catholic, an alien or a Jew, the promptest attention 
was usually given to it. One investigator who made an extended 
study of the Klan during its early years, reported that while its 
activities varied considerably from place to place, in general "boot- 
leggers seem to be the favorite objects of attack. Dope peddlers 
come in for attention, grafting officials are taken care of, places 
of amusement regulated, unfair business dealing punished . . . 
But there is also much eflfort put into regulating personal con- 
duct . . . men who maintained illicit relations with women, who 
failed to support their families, drank or gambled too heavily, or 
in general 'acted scandalously.' " « 

The Literary Digest reported "forty-three tar and feather par- 
ties . . . held in Texas" during the six months prior to August 
1921, the victim in one instance being a white woman. "In an- 
other case the initials KKK were branded on the forehead of a 
negro bellboy. In Missouri a sixty-year-old farmer was whipt 
by a mob and in Florida an archdeacon of the English Episcopal 
Church was both whipt and tarred and feathered." Charles P. 
Sweeney, prominent in one of the earliest newspaper investiga- 
tions of the Klan, reported that "The law is flouted ... A 

The Revival of the Ku Klux Klan 


mayor in Columbus, Georgia, who refuses to remove a city official 
who has proved efficient and capable finds his home dynamited; 
the city manager, 'a blue-bellied Yankee,' is driven from the city. 
Members of a board of education in Atlanta, Georgia, demurring 
at voting for a resolution to dismiss all Catholics employed as 
public school teachers, receive letters threatening their lives." 

The Klan did not make a direct appeal to the criminal element 
to join it but, on the other hand, little effort was made by most 
of the organizers to keep the illiterate and the hoodlum elements 
out of its membership. There were undoubtedly groups not 
affiliated with the Klan who took advantage of the Klan's secrecy 
and garb to discredit the Order or to do a little "reforming" on 
their own account. It is impossible to estimate what percentage 
of the violence credited to the Klan was actually committed with 
the official approval of the Order. Nevertheless, public opinion 
as expressed in the secular and religious press of the country 
began to turn hostile to the movement in the autumn of 1921. 

The Houston (Texas) Chronicle was one of the first news- 
papers to criticize unsparingly the Klan. One angle of its at- 
tacks appears in the following quotation: 

"It matters not who can get into your organization or who 
is kept out; any group of men can ape your disguise, your 
methods and your practices. If outrages occur for which you 
are not accountable — and they will — you have no way of 
clearing yourselves, except by throwing off your disguise and 
invoking the publicity you have sought to deny. Your role 
of masked violence, of purification by stealth, of reforni by 
terrorism is an impossible one. Your position is_ such that 
you must accept responsibility for every offense which smacks 
of disguised tyranny." " 

Beginning with September, 1921, the general press attack on 
the movement grew measurably. Led by the New York World, 
some twenty newspapers ran a series of syndicated articles which 
exposed to the general public not only the methods and violence 
of the Klan but the mysteries of its ritual and secret lore, the 
jargon of its vocabulary and the oath which bound its members. 
The style of the articles revealed the evident intent of their authors 
and publishers to hold the Klan up for ridicule and, if possible, 
to destroy it with laughter. The weekly press followed, printing 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

articles under such titles as "Applied Violence," "A Nightgown 
Tyranny," "Imperial Lawlessless" and the like. Typical of these 
was the sarcastic essay entitled "The Ku Klux Klan: The Soul 
of Chivalry," in which the Klan was denounced as "a child con- 
ceived in the tradition of a lawless past, and brought forth in the 
extravagant obscurantism of present day prejudice." 

Among the religious papers which took up the cudgels against 
the Klan's methods was the undenominational Christian Work 
(N. Y.) which wrote: "To have a group of men abroad 
in America whose purpose it is to stir up prejudice of any kind 
is not only Un-Christian, but contrary to well-estabHshed Amer- 
ican Principles."'^ The Atlanta Wesleyan Christian Ad- 
vocate, speaking for the southern leaders of the Methodist 

/ Episcopal Church, declared : "The Ku Klux Klan is not so much 
\i condemned by any proposed purpose, as by the tragical results 
in the multiplication all over the country of acts of masked mob 
violence for which the Order is directly or indirectly respon- 
sible."^* The Presbyterian Advance condemned the Order 
for secrecy which offered "a temptation too strong to be resisted 
to take the law into its own hands. "^^ The Reformed Church 
Messenger struck the same note of condemnation. 

Congress was stimulated to action by this press criticism and 
the Rules Committee of the House of Representatives conducted 
an investigation which was replete with charges of violence and 
illegality against the Klan and hearty denials of the same by the 
Klan officials. Col. Simmons was much distressed to find the 

/ child of his dreams so maligned. He had had no intention of 
raising up an Order so undisciplined. He did not believe that 
Klansmen had actually committed the crimes charged against 
them, but if such was actually the case, they had violated the 
principles of the Order.^* 

This turn of events was not anticipated by the leaders of the 
movement. The credit for weathering the tempest goes in large 
measure to Mrs. Tyler. E. Y. Clarke was admittedly frightened. 
In August of 1921 when it appeared that a storm was about to 
break, he strengthened his secret service and protective personnel 
by the employment of Fred L. Savage who had had experience 
running a private detective agency in New York City and had 
participated in breaking up the longshoreman's strike there in 

The Revival of the Ku Klux Klan 


1920.^^ He was given the title of Chief of Investigation, and 
he or his agents accompanied Clarke everywhere he went to afford 
him protection. The exposure of the Klan by the New York 
World terrified Clarke, and when it appeared that Congress 
was actually going to conduct an investigation, he felt that it 
would be safer for him outside the Order, so he wrote his resigna- 
tion and gave it to the press. When the reporters immediatly 
called upon Mrs. Tyler to find out whether the other member of 
the Southern Publicity Association had any intention of abandon- 
ing the Order, she learned of Clarke's action for the first time. 
Furious, she denounced him as "weak-kneed," and stated her in- 
tention to stay with the organization. She undoubtedly sensed 
the situation better than Clarke ; knew that exposures were good 
publicity and, what is more important, knew that the very fact 
that the northern metropolitan Nezv York World spat upon 
the Klan would cause a large group in the South, with charac- 
teristic stubbornness, to smile upon it— indeed, to embrace it 
ecstatically. So powerful a force was she in the Atlanta office that 
within forty-eight hours Clarke was persuaded to withdraw his 
resignation and stay with the organization, a decision which was 
unfortunate in the light of what was to happen to him later.^^ 
The results of the investigations turned out as Mrs. Tyler had 
predicted. The membership of the Klan before Qarke and Tyler 
were given charge of promotion was a mere five or six thousand. 
From the time they began their work until the eve of the in- 
vestigations mentioned above, the membership had increased to 
125,000, conservatively estimated." The Klan leaders claimed 
more than this, stating that the total was as high as 500,000. 
This number is, however, an evident exaggeration which the New 
York World repeated, perhaps to add to the importance of its 
investigation and to hurry reaction. After the investigations, the 
membership grew very rapidly. Klan officials reported gains as 
great as 5,000 a day.^« Clarke's profits likewise soared to an 
estimated figure of $40,000.00 per month. 

Such was the status of the Klan when Pennsylvania became 
a factor in its history. 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 


1. Williams, Michael: The Shadow of the Pope, (N. Y. 1932) p. 112. 

2. Lit. Dig., Feb. 5, 1921, p. 42. 

3. American Mercury, vol. 5, p. 240, Jan. 1925. 

4. Current Opinion, Nov. 1921, vol. 71, p. 562. 

5. Forum, Apr. 1921, vol. 65, p. 427 ' . 

6. Lit. Dig., Sept. 24, 1921, vol. 70, p. 36. 

7. American Mercury, Jan. 1925, vol. 5, p. 242. 

8. Stanley Frost, Outlook, vol. 136, p. 262. 

9. Lit. Dig., Aug. 27, 1921, vol. 70, p. 12. 

10. Nation, July 5, 1922, vol. 115, p. 8. 

11. Quoted in the Lit. Dig., Aug. 27, 1921, vol. 70, p. 12. 

12. Albert de Silver in the Nation, Sept. 14, 1921, vol. 113, p. 285-ff. 

13. Quoted in the Lit. Digest for Oct. 1, 1921, vol. 70, p. 30. 

14. Report of hearings before the Rules Committee of the House of Representatives, 67th 
Congress, 1st Session (1921). 

15. Sworn testimony of D. C. Stephenson presented in Case No. 1897 in Equity, Federal 
District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania ; also printed privately under 
the title "Behind the White Mask of the Ku Klux Klan;" compare Nation vol. 115 
p. 8-ff. 

16. Cf. the account by Chas. P. Sweeney: Nation vol. 115, p. 8-10 Jl. 5, 1922. 

17. Current Opinion, Nov. 1921, vol. 71, p. 561. 

18. Lit. Digest, Sept. 24, 1921, vol. 70, p. 34. 

19. Stanley Frost in the Outlook, Dec. 26, 1923, vol. 135, p. 717. 

The Klan Moves into Pennsylvania 

"The Klan demands of its members support in time, 
work, money and sacrifice. "-from The Klan Today 

The general press denunciation of the Klan in the autumn of 
1921 was a boon to the Klan organizers in Pennsylvania. They 
had come into the State earlier in the year with F. W. Atkms in 
charge. Offices were set up in Philadelphia and with a staff of 
five the business of organizing the State was begun. 

Progress was slower than these men had anticipated. They 
decided it might go faster if efforts were initiated at several 
points so the State was divided at the Susquehanna River and 
two of the men. Sam D. Rich and a Mr. Faulkner as assistant, 
were sent to the western "province" and located at Pittsburgh. 
Here an office was rented in the Jenkins Arcade Building, the 
sign "Advertising and Publicity" was printed on the door and 
callers were welcomed.^ 

In neither division of the State was the movement successful 
for the first five months. Scarcely enough money was taken in 
to pay for office rentals. Rich was obliged to dismiss his helper 
in order to conserve funds. The fact that the orgamzers were 
not natives of the State, Atkins having come from Atlanta, 
Georgia and Rich from Covington, Kentucky, made it more 
difficult 'for them to win the confidence of prospective members. 
The best plan, they soon discovered, was to sit m their offices 
and rely for field organizers upon local men. In the Pittsburgh 
district, A. L. Cotton was one of these. 

Sam Rich was a good salesman. He was a large, impressive 
man and while he possessed little ability to work with crowds or 
to make a public address, there are many witnesses who testify 
to the fact that few men with whom Rich had a personal inter- 
view ever came away without having given him the ten dollars 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

which represented their donation to the cause — more literally, 
perhaps, to Mr. Rich's maintenance. 

It was so with Mr. Cotton although he had already become 
interested in the Klan and, some weeks before Rich's arrival, 
had written to the Atlanta office for information concerning it. 
Moreover Rich found in Cotton a desirable worker. Not yet 
out of his thirties, good humored, able to tell a story with flourish, 
built like a football tackle, a good lodge man. Cotton had the 
qualifications for which Rich was looking. Besides, Cotton had 
never settled down to a single occupation and was quite willing > 
to give this new work a trial. A bargain was struck. Cotton 
was commissioned a Kleagle (organizer) and sent to Erie for 
his apprenticeship training. 

Not very successful in securing members, this first venture 
was rich in experience. His remuneration was a forty percent 
commission on the initiation fees which he collected, but this 
was barely sufficient to pay for his food and lodging. Forced at 
last to get publicity for himself and his cause, he used methods, 
the details of which he refused to divulge, which raised consid- 
erable opposition. He was warned to leave town — but not he. 
Finally arrested, he served a short jail sentence and was, there- 
after, a bona fide martyr for the cause. His success after this 
experience was more rapid. Soon he was directing the organi- 
zation in several counties and had charge of a staff of workers. ^ 

The publicity given to the Klan by the newspaper and govern- 
mental investigations dispelled the clouds of obscurity which had 
hung over the movement in Pennsylvania and became a great 
boon to its propagators. The number of Kleagles was rapidly 
increased and in many cases they found their work relatively 
easy. The names of Joseph Shoemaker, Samuel Frazier and 
Lemuel Peebles became more or less familiar in all parts of the 
State, while others were well known in more local areas ; John 
Davis in Westmoreland and Fayette counties ; Paul Winter in 
southeastern Pennsylvania ; Carl Risher in the area centering in 
Scranton ; Harry McNeel in Armstrong and Cameron counties, 
to mention but a few. ;, 

In the western provinces of the realm, the movement spread 
rapidly up the Allegheny River and southward through the coal 
and steel towns in the Monongehela and Youghiogheny valleys. 

The Klan Moves Into Pennsylvania 27 

Especmliy strong units were organized in Pittsburgh New Ken- 
sington, Homestead, Mt. Pleasant, Jolinstown, and Altoona 
Many of the klaverns had a membership above five hundred and 
few indeed that did not enroll more than a hundred members. 

Although few accurate figures are at this writmg available 
observers are agreed that the peak of the numerical strength of 
the Klan in western Pennsylvania came toward the end of iyZ4, 
when the total active membership of the Klan reached a figure 
somewhat in excess of 125,000. This figure does not include 
the transient members who joined the Klan apparently out of 
curiosity and immediately thereafter allowed their membership 
to lapse by non-payment of dues and realm taxes. This latter 
group was estimated by various Klan officials to range from 
fifteen to as high as thirty percent of the total enrollment. _ 
In the eastern part of the realm, progress was not as rapid 
. for a number of reasons. In the winter of 1921 after Atkins and 
his aides had succeeded in organizing some dozen klaverns m 
and about Philadelphia and Chester counties, and had a good 
beginning made in his campaign for members, there occurred a 
conspiracy in which the highest state officials (Grand Dragons) 
of the five states north of the Ohio River and the Mason's and 
Dixon's Line participated. They intended to break off relations 
with the South, wrest control of their respective states from 
Simmons and Clarke and keep the money which they had hitherto 
been obliged to send to Atlanta. This was an amount equal to 
approximately one-half of their total income and would have 
represented a considerable saving to them if the break had been 
successfully consummated. 

Not being well planned, their attempt was abortive. In Penn- 
sylvania, for instance, Atkins had not secured the approval of 
Rich or even of all of his own organizers in the Philadelphia 
District and so was unable to carry his own organization along 
with him. Rich, sensing his opportunity, remained loyal to 
Atlanta and received his reward when, Atkins having been dis- 
missed, his jurisdiction was widened to include the entire State. 

Unfortunately the affair had another aspect. Atkins not only 
left the State but, being in a vindictive mood, took with him the 
entire amount of accumulated funds of his district which Rich 
estimated to be between $25,000 and $35,000. More serious than 

The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

this loss, however, was the removal or destruction of the records, 
including the membership rolls, as well as records of receipts and 
expenditures. This opened the way for numerous claims against 
the Order and necessitated time and energy in reorganization 
which might have been spent more profitably in expansion. To 
Shoemaker and Cotton was entrusted most of this work, although 
Peebles and Frazier also spent considerable time in eastern Penn- 
sylvania after Atkins' dismissal. 

Evidently affairs were in a state of general confusion. Cotton 
and Shoemaker spent many weeks hunting up old members and 
trying to get the klaverns reorganized, a task which entailed 
some immediate sacrifice of profits, since the commissions of the 
Kleagles depended solely upon new members. "Many times we 
were so low in cash," commented Shoemaker, "that we would 
match to see who would buy the glass of milk."* It is due 
historical accuracy, however, to note that in view of their sub- 
sequent enthusiasm for the Klan, the small remuneration which 
they received during these lean months was by no means typical. 

Another change in leadership took place beginning January 1, 
1923, when Morris E. Freeman of the Indiana realm was ap- 
pointed Imperial Representative over eastern Pennsylvania. This 
change proved of small value for the success of the movement. 
As the year wore on to a close, charges against Freeman's ad- 
ministration grew more and more numerous. The chief item in 
these indictments was the mismanagement of the monies of 
the province. His enemies held that, like the provincial governors 
of Imperial Rome, he was trying to make himself wealthy in a 
single year. While they did not usually object to a little milking, 
they rebelled at being stripped. Freeman had some friends who^ 
in his defense, said that he was a victim of other Klan officials 
who were eager for his place. 

Both his friends and enemies were doubtless correct. Sam 
Rich was awake to the possibilities of the situation, at any rate. 
He sent A. L. Cotton into his colleague's province to "gumshoe 
around" and, if possible, to get things into his control. Cotton, 
although he expressed regret regarding his breach of formal eti- 
quette in playing the spy upon one whom he counted as his 
friend, carried out his superior's orders. In consequence Rich 
regained eastern Pennsylvania on January 1, 1924. Whereupon 

The Klan Moves Into Pennsylvania 


Cotton was promoted to the position of Chief of Staff in Charge 
of Propagation in this area, retaining in addition six counties 
in the western part of the state. 

Added to this frequent change of leadership, there was another 
factor which handicapped the rapid growth of the Klan m the 
East, viz., the intractable "Dutch." Cotton and his associated 
Kleagles were a long time learning to work with them. Militant 
Protestants with all the inherited prejudices of their persecuted 
ancestors the "Pennsylvania Dutch" were easily persuaded to 
join in the Klan's anti-Catholic crusade. Naturally clannish they 
listened with interest and approval to exhortations for an increase 
of the spirit of fraternity and of high loyalty of man to man, 
but they resented the demand that they give blind military obe- 
dience to the realm officials even though the majority of Klans- 
men throughout the State had been willing to give it. 

To any one of the klaverns in the Pittsburgh district. Rich or 
Cotton could give an order with practical certainty that it would 
be carried out without challenge to their authority. To their 
chagrin they found that this was not true in the German sections 
from Lancaster and Lebanon to Allentown. As an example, the 
realm ofhce had been accustomed to a high-handed policy rela- 
tive to the granting of charters, allowing their issuance or not 
as it chose. The Allentown klavern had its own ideas about the 
matter and expressed them freely. After some difficulties, 
Lemuel Peebles was sent to "lay down the law." As he relates it: 

"Cotton and Shoemaker had both gotten in bad and then 
I went down. Boy! Did I get in Dutch too ! They were a 
bunch of sincere fellows who didn't like to be dictated to— 
'Dutchmen' you know. They could be led but not driven 
Cotton had tried to drive them. I made a big speech all 
about the great size of the organization; how the leaders 
were brainy men— had to be, or they could never have de- 
veloped such an organization. I told them that here at 
Allentown they were acting as if they knew more than the 
■ state officials who had built up the Order Well, they just 
sat and Hstened. I could see they werent with me. One 
of them finally got up and said, 'Will you sit down and let 
me talk a while?' He began telUng me what the situation 
was there. I saw that I had to change my mmd, so i.said, 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

'Well, up at the State office they didn't know that.' I 
^ promised that I would deliver the charter. They wanted 
to know when. So I had to fix a date." 

Finally the state leaders learned to allow the "Dutch" a freer 
hand and they became the most loyal of all Klansmen within 
the Realm, and their organizations survived the disruption that 
was later to destroy the State organization and most of the local 
klaverns as well. 

In spite of mistakes and changes in leadership, membership in 
the eastern province did grow although it reached its peak a 
year later than in the western province. At its height, the roll 
of active members totaled some ninety or ninety-five thousand 
of whom a third were in and about Philadelphia and its suburbs. 
Other centers of activity were Schuylkill, Luzerne and Carbon 
counties with their mining areas and large foreign population, 
and the Lehigh Valley where the Klan was quite strong. 

The problem of determining the membership of the Klan in 
the State when official records are unavailable is complicated by 
two factors. One was the practice of the organizers to claim 
an exaggerated number on the theory that nothing is more 
potent for the success of an organization than the appearance 
of success. The other was the desire of officials to minimize 
the enrollment in their reports to their superiors in order to 
avoid remittance of full amounts of monies collected. Very in- 
accurate records were kept by some officials for this reason and, 
jwhen kept, were conveniently lost on occasion. 

A controversy growing out of such a situation took place in 
the late summer of 1923 between Sam Rich and his immediate 
superior D. C. Stephenson. It sheds some light on the possible 
membership of the Klan in Pennsylvania at that time. Rich 
claimed that only 260,000 members had been taken into the Order 
in his realm. This, of course, included withdrawals and mem- 
bers not in good standing, as well as the active members at the 
time. Stephenson charged Rich with failure to report 60,000 
members, in order to avoid the necessity of paying him the 
amount of money due on these memberships. No records were 
found to prove Stephenson's contention and when he resigned 
from the Klan in the autumn of that year the matter was 
dropped,** It seems reasonable to believe that Rich, in this in- 

The Klan Moves Into Pennsylvania 31 

stance, would have no reason to exaggerate the membership in 
his report to Stephenson and that 260.000 may therefore be con- 
sidered a basis for estimating the minimum number enrolled m 
the Klan prior to July, 1923. 

In explaining the growth of the Ku Klux Klan member- 
ship in Pennsyfvania to a number in excess of 260,000. its gen- 
eral statement of principles is important. These were the stock 
in trade of a host of Klan lecturers and pamphleteers. If the 
speaker was familiar with the special likes and aversions of the 
community, he selected from among the Klan principles the ones 
which most nearly corresponded and explained them at length 
If unfamiliar with the community he usually spoke in general 
terms about them all. With rousing ideaHsm, diluted often by 
bits of crass realism the better to hold attention, the orators dis- 
coursed upon their themes ending, usually, with some variation 
of the following: 

"These are the principles of true Americanism These 
are the principles of the Christian religion. If you are a 
patr ot i? you are a Christian, then you belong with thou- 
sands o your fellows in the Ku Klux Klan who arent 
ashamed to defend the old U. S. A. and to stand up for 
their religion." 

Then as a final touch, the impressive language of a foreign 
phrase : 

"You, too, should write across your escutcheon: Non Silba 
sed Anthar."^ 

And after the hush and the burst of applause, Klansmen, scat- 
tered through the audience, served as translators for any who 
might wish such erudition made simple. 

Indeed, the mass of listeners found little wrong with the in- 
nocuous statements of beliefs and purposes which clever _ speakers 
colored with the hue most suited to the community m which 
they spoke. Not trained to cull the demagoguery from soundmg 
rhetoric or even to suspicion it, the average Pennsylvanian 
swallowed wholesale such pronouncements as that or the circuit 
rider and iiistory professor who. as founder and Imperial Wizard 
of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan proclaimed: 

The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

"To the lovers of Law, Order, Peace and Justice of all 
People, Tribes, and Tongues of the whole earth, Greetings: 

"I, and the citizens of the Invisible Empire through me, 
make declaration to you : 

"We, the members of this Order, desiring to promote 
patriotism toward our Civil Government; honorable peace 
among men and nations; protection for and happiness in 
the homes of our people; manhood, brotherhood, and love 
among ourselves, and liberty, justice and fraternity among 
all mankind; believing we can best accomplish these noble 
purposes through a mystic, social, patriotic, benevolent as- 
sociation, having a perfected lodge system, with an exalted 
ritualistic form of work and an effective form of govern- 
ment, not for selfish profit, but for the mutual benefit, better- 
ment and protection of our oath-bound associates, and their 
loved ones ; do physically, socially, morally and vocationally 
proclaim to the world that we are dedicated to the sublime 
duty of providing generous aid, tender sympathy and frater- 
nal assistance amid fortune and misfortune, in the effulgent 
light of hfe and amid the sable shadow of death; and to 
the exalted privilege of demonstrating the practical utility 
of the great (yet most neglected), doctrine of the Fatlier- 
hood of God and the Brotherhood of man as a vital force in 
the lives and affairs of men. 

"We invite all men who can qualify to become citizens 
of the Invisible Empire to approach the portal of our benef- 
icent domain, join us in our noble work of extending its 
boundaries, and in disseminating the gospel of "Klankraft," 
thereby encouraging, conserving, protecting and making vital 
the fraternal relationship in the practice of an honorable 
clannishness ; to share with us the glory of performing the 
sacred duty of protecting womanhood; to maintain forever 
the God-given supremacy of the white race ; to commemorate 
the holy and chivalric achievements of our fathers; to safe- 
guard the sacred rights, privileges and institutions of our 
Civil Government; to bless mankind and to keep eternally 
ablaze the sacred fire of a fervent devotion to a pure 

"The Invisible Empire is founded on sterling character, and 
nnmutable principles based upon sacred sentiment and ce- 
mented by noble purposes. It is promoted by a sincere 
unselfish devotion of the souls of men, and is governed by 
their consecrated intelligence. It is the soul of chivalry, 
virtue's impenetrable shield; and the devout impulses of an 
unconquered race,"® 

The Klan Moves Into Pennsylvania 

At "open meetings" of the Order, curious visitors were usually 
circularized with sheets upon wliich appeared the Klan articles 
of faith, assertions of belief in: 

"The tenets of the Christian Religion. 
White Supremacy. 
Protection of our pure womanhood. 
Just laws and liberty. 
Closer relationship of Pure Americanism. 
The upholding of the Constitution of these United States. 
The Sovereignty of our State Rights. 
Freedom of Speech and Press. _ 
Closer relationship between Capital and American Labor. 
Preventing the causes of mob violence and lynchings. 
Preventing of unwarranted strikes by foreign labor agita- 

^° Preventing of fires and destruction of property by lawless 

The Hmitation of foreign immigration. 
:■. The much needed local reforms. 
Law and Order."" 

When the Kleagle, flushed with enthusiasm for the virtues of 
his Order — not to mention its possibilities as a business enter- 
prise—read again this list of principles and asked with challenging 
voice, "Friend, where do you Hne up?" the average citizen was 
defenseless. Not trained in the various uses of language, he did 
not notice the meaninglessness of such generalities as "much 
needed local reform," "unwarranted strikes," "just laws," "pure 
Americanism," and "tenets of the Christian religion." He did 
not ask for more specific definition of terms nor inquire whether 
the Klan obligation and organization were consistent with 

The Klan organizers easily recognized the advantage of such 
generalities. While interpretations of "pure Americanism" or of 
"just laws" differed widely among Pennsylvanians, each was will- 
ing to hear them praised assuming that his own variety was "pure" 
and "just." Thus the Klan, in the hands of skillful organizers, 
could become literally all things to all native Protestants. Happy 
was the Kleagle who understood his area and the accepted beliefs 
of its people; it was profitable. 

In the work of promotion, the state and national offices main- 
tained, to assist their Kleagles, a group of speakers, some of 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

whom pledged themselves to fill speaking engagements at their 
convenience at a guaranteed fee per address. A large part of this 
group of speakers consisted of ministers who found such remu- 
neration a welcome addition to their small salaries. Moreover, the 
ministers were generally the most successful type of lecturer and 
indirect evidence, perhaps, that a large number of those who 
joined the Klan thought that they were supporting Christian 
idealism when they paid their initiation fees. 

In singing the praises of the Klan, these speakers plucked a 
harp of powerful prejudices. To the accompaniment of the twin 
strings of "white supremacy" and, by inference from the prin- 
ciples of "limitation of immigration," Nordic supremacy, whole 
hymns of racial exultation were sung. Fervent anthems were 
raised to glorify "the Constitution" and its "pure Americanism," 
as contrasted with socialism, communism and the mouthings of 
"foreign agitators." The "protection of our pure womanhood" 
and the "prevention of the causes of mob violence and lynching" 
(not the lynching) were themes for many a spicy and sentimental 
composition. But more frequently than all others were intoned 
variations of the religious theme — witty ditties about the caprices 
of some priest or prelate and solemn dirges warning of the doom 
of Protestantism if left undefended by stalwart Knights of the 
Ku Klux Klan. 

Many speakers were complete failures and were soon weeded 
out. Some remained in service and soon gained in popularity. 
Rev. J. W. Dempster, Rev. Fred R. Dent and Rev. J. F. 
Daugherty— "the three D's that were better than D.D.'s," — Rev. 
J. S. Strayer, Rev. Bruce Lehman, Rev. J. E. Flemming, Rev. 
Hartranft and Rev. G. A. Williams were among the ministers 
who were highly regarded by the state officials. From outside 
the State came numerous lecturers of whom James A. Comer, 
from the Atlanta office, and Thomas A. Heflin, of Alabama, were 
acceptably received. 

The procedure which characterized the most successful speakers 
was soon in common use. It was partly necessitated by a rough 
sense of justice and fair play which, while common in a measure 
to most peoples, is peculiarly characteristic of the native American. 
Developed in America's broad frontier areas where caste and 
aristocracy of birth did not survive, it still remains a part of 

The Klan Moves Into Pennsylvania 35 

the cultural heritage as is shown by the sympathy generally given 
by the mass of Americans to the underdog, the fellow whom 
they feel hasn't had a fair chance. 

The strategy of the Klan orator was, then, to cast the native 
white Protestant not as belonging to the predommant and con- 
trolling group as is the case throughout most of our area, but as 
the poor, oppressed sufferer, plundered by foreigners tncked by 
"Jesuits" and robbed of his birthright by scheming descendants 
of Abraham. If a Klan spokesman could make Catholic, alien and 
Negro appear in the role of aggressors, these groups became the 
villains of the drama and the sympathies of the audience would 
automatically descend upon the nativists, demand for them simple 
justice and a square deal," and justify a defensive attack against 
their enemies. 

A specific example from the literature of the movement will 
clarify this point. In flat denial of the claim that the Klan was 
"the most American of all patriotic orders" many of its critics 
condemned it for being aggressively un-American. Thus W. L. 
Pattangall, defining Americanism as a spirit which "cannot toler- 
ate caste or religious distinctions in politics, social life, or legal 
standing, (and which) especially cannot for a moment endure the 
breeding and exploitation of hatred and prejudice as a means to 
swing public opinion and political power," indicted the Order 
for doing just these things which, he added, "it makes a virtue 
of doing."" 

The reply to this charge, entitled "The Klan: Defender of 
Americanism," and credited to H. W. Evans' authorship, illus- 
- trates the typical Klan strategy. This was to maneuver the 
opponent into a position of attacking Americamsm and the Klan 
into the "Defender of Americanism." The author in this in- 
stance accepted the definition of Americanism made by his critic 
(with a minor qualification) "not merely as an abstraction to be 
talked about, but as a heritage to be fought for." ' The Klan 
he continued, "finds all these violations of Americanism being 
practiced deliberatelv and persistently" by other groups whereas 
his Order "makes a principle and a duty of resisting them. 

Condemned for intolerance Evans replied that it is not un- 
American to be intolerant of intolerance. If the Klan is intoler- 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

ant when it condemns those groups which subvert Americanism, 
it is proud of it. 

"In a nation toleration becomes a vice when fundamentals 
are in danger . . . The American liberals . . . have ex- 
tended their liberality till they are willing to help the aliens 
tear at the foundations of the nation. They have become 
one of the chief menaces of the country, instead of the sane 
intellectual leaders they should be . . . They give an almost 
joyous welcome to alien criticism of everything American. 
The unopposed attack on the Puritan conscience is only one 
illustration; our liberals today seem ashamed of having any 
conscience at all . . . Tolerance is more prized by them 
than conviction."^^ 

This thrust at American liberals is significant and reveals an 
adroitness which efifectively strengthened the Klan case. Cultur- 
ally the Klan represented the status quo elements in the state and 
nation. Old line stalwart conservatives, Klansmen were disturbed 
and angered to see divergent religious groups, peoples with col- 
lectivist ideas of government or with different economic and 
social standards becoming an increasingly larger element in Penn- 
sylvania's population, especially in the industrial and mining areas 
where they definitely challenged the culture which "the fathers" 
had built up. The Klan's real appeal was to the group of 
Americans who were opposed to cultural change and to those 
reactionaries who wished to bring back the good old days before 
the so-called "new immigration." It is quite understandable, in 
view of this fact, why liberals were considered worse than 
foreigners. They were among "the chief menaces" because, being 
natives yet welcoming change, they became traitors to their own 

That there was strategic advantage in the Klan's position is 
obvious. Status quo groups, no matter what methods they use, 
can deny that they are aggressors. They always defend; they 
always protect what is or was. Their attacks are always counter- 
attacks to regain lost territory; their campaigns against the foe 
are never for the purpose of forcing the foe to change but always 
for the purpose of making their own treasured possessions or 
culture secure. 

The opponent of the Klan might deny outright the value which 
Klansmen placed upon the cultural heritage passed down from 

The Klan Moves Into Pennsylvania 37 

the fathers. He would then deny the premises of the Klan 
ideology. Although this was the most direct and most logical 
form for criticism to take, in most communities it was not used. 
The offending critic who used it was usually thrown without the 
city gates and verbally stoned to death. There was too much 
ancestor worship in the average native to permit such "base 

The more tactful critic launched his attack not at the premises 
of the movement but at the methods which were used by its mem- 
bers. In this case too, the natural defenses were strong. Many 
people firmly believed that a good end generally justified the 
means. At any rate, if your enemy used unethical methods as 
was the case, for instance, when poison gas was first used in the 
World War, the only alternative to retaliation in kind was the 
sacrifice of your cause. That "Jesuit trickery" deserved to be 
countered with "masked violence" was accepted without argu- 
ment. He was a mollycoddle or "a spineless liberal" who re- 
fused to so defend the faith of his fathers and his country's 

To be sure, the Klan was obliged, in order to justify some 
of its methods, to claim that the opposition groups used methods 
which were worse. As a consequence the Klan gave widest pub- 
licity to and even exaggerated the faults of its opponents at the 
same time minimizing or maintaining a stony silence about their 
virtues. Unfortunately, the average Klansman, schooled in the 
over-simplified ethics of American cinema plots with their totally 
black villains and lily white heroes, was ready to believe the entire 
heirarchy of the Catholic Church as basely villainous as the 
scoundrels whom some lecturer had unearthed from the vast 
annals of that institution to demonstrate his point; to picture 
most Jews whom they did not know as murderers of prophets 
or as crafty Shylocks ; and to regard all foreigners not among 
their personal acquaintances as plotting to undermine the founda- 
tions of the Commonwealth. 

The Klan's critics could and did deny the one-sidedness and 
the exaggeration of this picture but since they admitted the partial 
truth of the Klan charge, the effectiveness of their criticism was 
weakened. It was waived aside as lacking insight. Such critics, 
Klansmen were told, did not know the inside facts. Too ready 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

to think well of their enemies, they were unaware of the secret 
machinations which more watchful eyes perceived. The policy of 
the enemies of American institutions was always to act the part 
of loyal citizens in public while they carried out their evil designs 
behind drawn blinds and closed doors. 

The belief in the minds of the nativists that there was a serious 
plot against American ideals and institutions, the success of which 
only immediate organization and united action could prevent, 
was as important for the growth of the Ku Klux Klan as the 
belief in the Devil and his angels was for the growth of the 
medieval Christian Church. It was the sine qua non of its exist- 
ence. There was a considerable number of Pennsylvanians who 
had been influenced by the A.P.A. movement, who had come 
under the influence of periodicals of The Menace type, or had 
read the publications of the Rail Splitter Press (Milan, 111.). 
These found the Klan an institution which gave expression to 
sentiments already formed and so needed no urging to join it. 
There were thousands of others, however, who learned for the 
first time in Klan meetings that their ideals and culture were in 

That they were so credulous of such statements may be partially 
explained by the fact that the period of Klan growth was coin- 
cident with a period of post war economic depression. The cost 
of living had risen. General disillusionment and fear was com- 
mon. All foreigners were suspected and the ugly clouds of 
popular unrest were crackling with a high potential of hatred. 
The fact that Pennsylvania decisively rejected Wilson and his 
League in the 1920 elections, bade godspeed to Palmer in his 
heresy hunt and rejoined with New York in its enactment of 
the Lusk laws was significant of the temper of the times and 
of the willingness of the people to find a scapegoat upon whom 
to blame their troubles and against whom to discharge their 
pent up emotions. 

It was also a time when the crusading spirit was running high. 
The war for Americans had not been a war of exhaustion and 
the high idealism with which pulpit and propaganda had fortified 
the conscripted soldiers was by no means spent. The growth of 
the Klan will not be understood unless it is recognized that the 
reforming zeal which, during the war, was directed toward the 

The Klan Moves Into Pennsylvania 39 - 

illusory hope of ridding the world of autocratic and irresponsible 
government and its by-product of aggressive war. was given new 
object and goal by the Klan leaders. 

To characterize the Ku Klux Klan as a reform movement 
may recall an expression of that cynical stalwart Conkhng when 
he called reform "the last refuge of the scoundrel." Indeed, the 
Klan did often demonstrate how bad reform may be. Neverthe- 
less no other theme stands out so clearly from the discussions 
regarding the Order which the writer has had with Klansmen 
all over the state of Pennsylvania than the desire for reform,_ 
Other motives were undeniably interwoven with it: the desire 
for personal gain, the love of display, the thrill of excitement, 
the satisfaction which comes from having power over one's fellow- 
men Still in the varied activities of the Klan, from the worst 
instances of kidnapping and cruelty to their hymn singing and 
educational meetings, the least common denominator of their 
programs of action was the idea of reform. 

Moreover, the Klan's reform program was not the idle purring 
of a high powered emotional engine. The engine was usually in 
gear It found expression in deeds and in this it was well adapted 
to the post-war days when thousands of men had been schooled 
in methods of direct action in camp and trench. The Klan claimed 
to be "the only order of men . . . who have organized them- 
selves for . . . the militant defense, fulfillment and enforcement 
of Protestant Americanism ... It is militantly operative."^' 

"The Klan stood for the same things as the Church," boasted 
one Exalted Cyclops," "but we did things the Church wouldn't 
do. They talked about morals in the churches, but if some young 
fellow got into trouble or some couple was about to get a divorce, 
the churches wouldn't mess in it. We acted. There are at least 
five couples in this community that were having domestic trouble 
which we helped straighten out." This quotation is typical. 
Klansmen as a group did not come from the more intellectual 
classes who would be interested in the theory of government. 
They neither understood nor cared about such topics as the re- 
form of the jury system or the consolidation of township govern- 
ment. Any suggestion of "constitutional reform" would only 
have frightened them and aroused their hostility. 

40 The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

Most Klansmen were interested in the more personal aspects 
of evil whether it was found in public officials or in their neigh- 
bors. The ofihcial who accepted bribes or who discriminated 
against the native Protestant or gave evidence of partiality to a 
Catholic, Jew or foreigner was watched, warned, and if unre- 
formed, opposed at the next election. Neighbors, too, if they 
broke the recognized ethical codes of the community, were often 
reprimanded or threatened. Especially was this true if the of- 
fender was foreign born, colored, or of a differing faith. It was 
more difficult to get action against one of their own kind ; rarely 
indeed were offending Klansmen punished except with dismissal 
from the Order. 

Typical were the following cases which are set down as nearly 
as possible in the language in which they were told the author. 

"Recall the two nigger whore-houses opposite the school 
house at McKees Rocks ? Why even the school teachers were 
being bothered. We tried but couldn't get the Law to act, 
so one night, eight of us visited the place. We came in two 
big Packards. We had brought two crosses all wrapped and 
soaked and ready to burn which we planted, one in front 
of each house. We set fire to them and then rode off and 
loafed around town for a while. About one o'clock we 
came back to see what was going on. Pretty soon we saw 
one of the boogies open the door a little and look through 
the crack to see if anyone was around, then make off up 
the street with her suitcase. It wasn't long until another 
curly head came out; then in a Httle while, another. There 
was an early morning train due at 2 :30 and they were making 
for the station. That train carried the whole bunch of them 
away that night. "^^ 

"And you remember the Greek at Finleyville who was 
messing around with the little girl? Boy! Did he make 
a quick get-away!"^® 

"And the nigger living with the white widow-woman? It 
didn't take him long to pack up either."" 

"Then there was the case of 'Qiief Hughes, a nigger 
ex-policeman at Kenneywood Park. He still had his badge 
and had been collecting graft from couples for several years. 
Couples would go up in the field near the park to pet. This 
nigger had a bunch of kids parked around the field to give 
him the high sign. He would then come up, show his badge 
and tell the couple they were under arrest. He would hand 
them a regular line about how he supposed it would be 

The Klan Moves Into Pennsylvania 41 

embarrassing for their names to appear in the Papers- 
especially the girl's name, so maybe it could be fixed up if 
they choL. In this way he had been collecting ten or fi teen 
dollars, sometimes as high as twenty-five dollars to let he 
couple ofT. Well, we took the matter to Chief Detective 
Robert Brown, of Allegheny County but he wouldn t do 
anything with it. If we got more evidence, he said, then he 
might handle it. We brought a whole crew the Homestead 
Wreckers among them, and scattered them through the Park 
one Sunday. We caught the gentleman m the act but the 
detective they had sent got yellow and wouldn t make the 

"Then we got the promise of detective Prosser. We had 
to go for him but he was one of the best. This time we 
had the thing planned. Eddie Burns, a little fellow, dressed 
up in his sister's clothes and made a good looking sweetie^ 
We sent him up in the field with a big six-footer and they 
began loving it up. Pretty soon the big nigger came up to 
them and, flashing his badge, said, 'You are under arrest. 

"We had given the six-footer a five dollar bill which we 
had taken to the bank to have marked for identification and 
we had ourselves marked it._ Well they came down the road, 
the nigger reeling of? his line. 

"T usually get twenty-five for this.' 
"'But I have only five. Can't you let us off for that? 
"They had a big argument but finally the mgger agreed 
and took the money. Just about that time up stepped Prosser 
and put him under arrest. We hustled him into my car and 
started for the jail. He began spouting off and attemp ed to 
take a pass at one of us. He was soon shown that that 
wouldn't work. Then he changed his tune and tried to honey 
up to us, finally pulled a bottle of whiskey out of POcket 
and offered it around. Nobody would take any. When he 
offered it to me, I said 'Sure 1' and put the bottle m my pocket. 
He raised a fu^s and I told him, 'No, I'll just keep this for 

further evidence.' ^ . • ^ j j 

"Well to shorten the story, the 'Chief was convicted and 
eot— I've forgotten how long— but anyway he died in jail. 
We got three kids, too, who had been helping him. One 
of them was sent to Morganza."^^ 

In addition to the cases where the Klan either aided the Law 
or took matters into its own hands because of the Law's delays 
or failure to act at all, there were other cases where wrong was 
acknowledged to exist but the law was incapable of acting. As 
one judge reported to Stanley Frost: "One of the things that 

42 The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

makes a judge's life hard is the wrongs for which there is no 
legal remedy; the unfair but not criminal methods of slick crooks, 
the betrayals of women where more harm than good is done if 
the law is called in, the oppression of the money lenders the 
lazmess of men who let their children starve— all so common we 
take them for granted— I can't do anything about them."^^ Some 
local klaverns tried to deal with this class of evils more than 
with any other kind, and the success which met their efforts in 
this regard was the basis of the confident assertions of scores of 
Klansmen that "The Klan did aid my community." For example 
the Exalted Cyclops of Lincoln Klan confided: 

^ "There was a poor woman over by the mountain not far 
from Laurelville whose husband had deserted her. She and 
her small children were living in a place hardly fit for 
animals. We sent investigators over and they found the 
children so undernourished as to be literally starvin<^ The 
woman told us a sad story. Her husband was a loafer and 
had recently pulled out'-had gone to a neighboring state. 
Since there he had sent nothing to his family. We took the 
trouble to locate him and ordered him to return home We 
made it plain that it was high time for him to straighten 
up and take care of his family. He came, too. He knew it 
would be much better for him if he did."-" 

The same swaggering but apparently effective action was taken 
by another klavern near Pittsburgh : 

< "In this town there was a shiftless man by the name of 
YVt ■• wasn't getting along. His five 
children were in want. We investigated and took them about 
ten dollars worth of food, enough to tide them over a little 

"The way we did it was this : First a man in civilian clothes 
canie to the door and told the family that they were about 
to have visitors ; that these visitors would be dressed a little 
differently from the ordinary but that they were not to be 
tnghtened on this account as the visitors were their friends 
If they thought the children might be frightened, they could 
put them to bed or in the back of the house. 

"Five of us came in our robes and looked the place over 
Ut coiirse we already knew the shape it was in and their 
condition We had found a job for the man, too. and had 
coached the speakers upon what to say. 

The Klan Moves Into Pennsylvania 43 

"'What was needed?'" one of us finally asked in solemn 
voice. They replied that they were about to be turned out 
of the house. They were back three months rent and he 
landlord was demanding payment. It was evident, too, that 
They needed clothes. 

"'What is the matter? No work? . . . Well, have you 
tried to find work?' 

" 'Sure Been everywhere hunting a job. All the plants 
are running full. They're not taking on any new men. 

"We tried to find out just where he had apphed for work 
and he named a few places but I think he was lying. 

" 'Now we are going to help you,' we said. 'You go down 
to such-and-such a plant tomorrow and ask f or ^work. We 
hear they are taking on a few men down there. 

" 'But they wouldn't take me,' he objected. 'I've never 
dug coal.' 

'"That's all right; you go down and see what work ^ they 
have. And if you can't get fixed up there go to . . . and 
we named two other places. 

"Well we had it all fixed up and he got work all right. 
But after about a week he failed to show up at his work. 
We went around to see him. 

" 'What's the trouble ? Sick?' 

" 'No.' he said, ' but I'm pretty sore. I thought I ought 
to rest up a little.' , 

" 'Well we advise you to go back to your job . . • 
took the hint and finally the landlord got his rent and the 
family had something to live on." 

Then to point the moral, the Klansman who told the incident 
added : 

"Now you see that was a case where the Law wasn't as 
good as our action. The only thing the wife could have 
lone was to sue him for non-support Then if she had go ten 
a judgment it would have meant only a measly tj/ee dollars 
a week which wouldn't have kept her family. We,kept the 
home together as well as provided for their needs. ' 

While some action closely resembling the above instances was 
taken by almost every klavern throughout the State, the requests 
which the local organizations received for such action were much 
more numerous. John C. Miles, ex-mayor of Wilkinsburg and a 
prominent member of the Klan in that place and throughout 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

western Pennsylvania, testified that "mothers and fathers would 
beg the Klan to instill the fear of God into wayward children 
who were otherwise unmanageable. People would write in to us 
complaining of neighbors who disturbed the peace, of competitors 
who used unfair methods, of persons or establishments suspected 
of engaging in vice or immorality or boot-legging. They all asked 
the Klan to do something about it. A good many of these re- 
quests were anonymous and we disregarded them, of course. 
We acted on a few but the chief thing that impressed one was 
the confidence these people had in the ability of the Klan to get 
things done. They placed a much higher estimate on the Klan 
in this respect than they did in the ordinary processes of the 


1. The fullest account the author has seen of the early days in Pennsylvania appears in 
a memorandum written by Van A. Barrickman from his personal experience as a 
mernber of the Order and from information gained in the conduct of Case 1897 in 

the U. S District Court in Pittsburgh, during which he served as 
chief attorney for the defense. This memorandum appeared in the personal papers 
of Rev. J. F. Strayer. ^ 

2. Information secured during a personal interview by the writer with Mr A L Cotton 

3. Much statistical information is scattered through the testimony filed in the 
District Court ofTiccs^ Post Office Building.JPittsbuish_r^ to_Cas£-J897 in gS^it^ 
mentioned-^above.^ Tfie New Kensington tCTaveTThaTaK-enrolTS^^ 

Mt. Pleasant had 758 members; Homestead nearly 1,000; Altoona was the largest 
Klavern in the State m 1926. 

4. From a personal interview by the writer with Joseph Shoemaker. 

5. trom a personal interview by the writer with Lemuel Peebles 

5. lestimony of Roy Barclay who was employed as an investigator by D. C. Stephenson 
Part of the material appears m the Transcript of testimony for Case 1897 in Equity 
cited above. Some comes from a personal interview by the writer with Mr Barclay 

7. I his represents a generalization made by the writer from Klan lectures to which he 
„ P4"?."ally listened as well as from the notes of other lectures which he has read. 

8. William Joseph Simmons: Constitution of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan 1921 
edition, p. 4-6. ' 

9. From a Klan circular. Form P-217. 

10. Forum 74/327. 

11. Forum 74/806-ff. 

12. Ibid, p. 808-ff. 

13. Klan folder. Form C-100 (American Ptg. & Mfg. Co. Atlanta) 
11 t'i^V^T^- Exalted Cyclops of Lincoln Klan. 

^ A ?, , ^ r- ^°tf"" t° Joseph Shoemaker in the presence of the writer. 

16. Added by Joseph Shoemaker. 

17. Added by A. L. Cotton. 

18. Told to the writer by A. L. Cotton. 

19. Outlook 136/183. 

20. Told to the writer by the E. C. of Mt. Pleasant Klan. 

21. Told to the writer by H.irry Moore. 

22. Told to the writer by John C. Miles. 

The Klan Changes Hands: 
Progress in Pennsylvania Under the Evans Regime 

"Credulity is the common failing of inexperienced 
virtue " — Samuel Johnson 

"When Dr. Johnson defined patriotism as the last 
refuge of a scoundrel, he was unconscious of the^ 
then undeveloped capabilities of the word 'reform.' " 

— Roscoe Conkling 

In the autumn of 1922 occurred a struggle for the control of 
the national organization which resulted in the complete ousting 
of W J. Simmons, its founder. There had risen within Klan 
circles a group of ambitious leaders who felt that the financial and 
political possibilities of the Order were being neglected. Respon- 
sibility for this situation was laid upon Simmons whose control 
over the organization as its Emperor and Imperial Wizard was 
as complete as he chose to make it. With little politica vision 
and with a strain of idealism in his character, Simmons often did 
not see eye to eye with many of his subordinates who wished 
to use the Order to serve very realistic power and profit motives. 

One of these leaders who chafed under Simmon's control was 
the National Secretary of the Organization, Hiram Wesley Evans 
His rapid rise in the Texas Klan and his promotion to the national 
staff had only emphasized what his early experience as struggling 
dentist in Dallas had taught him, namely, that too rigid a standard 
of ethics was a luxury to be indulged in only by those who cou d 
afford it or by those who lacked ambition. H. C. McCall, formerly 
a deputy constable in Houston, but now high in the councils of 
the Klan in Texas, was of similar mind. In Arkansas, James 
A Comer, former jusrice of the peace but now chief organizer 
of that state, was in a surly mood and welcomed a suitable change 
By the time of the autumn Klonvokation (National Convention) 

46 The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

in November of 1922, these men, together with Kyle Ramsey, of 
Louisiana, and Fred L. Savage of the Georgia Office, had per- 
fected a scheme to remove Simmons from power. Evans was 
eager for Simmons' place and confided to a friend that he had 
already begun to take Simmons' friends away from him by 
putting out "poison meat,"— tales derogatory to his character.^ 

As finally worked out, the plan was to rush to completion a 
division of Simmons' powers. Simmons had already complained 
of being over-worked and had spoken some time previously about 
the possibility of having separate individuals for Emperor and 
for Imperial Wizard. If they could act quickly before Simmons 
had matured his plans, the Evans group thought they might cap- 
ture the office of Imperial Wizard with all its prerogatives and 
relegate Simmons to the Emperorship which could be made 
largely honorary. If successful, this arrangement would allow 
Simmons to continue to "unfold the spiritual philosophy" of the 
Klan, to supervise the ritualistic work and develop what were 
known as "the higher degrees," but would strip from him the 
general executive and financial control of the Order. 

To make certain that their plan would not be blocked in the 
Klonvokation, it was necessary to get support for it from the 
North. Most influential and ambitious of all northern officials at 
the time was D. C. Stephenson, a young, powerfully built, per- 
sonally attractive go-getter who, as Grand Dragon of Indiana, 
ruled over the largest and most effective Klan organization in the 
North which he hoped to whip into a powerful political machine. 
Bent upon having a free hand in his realm, his correspondence 
with Simmons' office had been bitterly critical of the restrictions 
placed upon him. Knowing this, the Evans group called him into 
conference on the eve of the Klonvokation and found him willing 
to bargain, albeit the fact that he was later given charge of pro- 
motion in twenty-three northern states shows that he set the 
price of his cooperation high. 

In pursuance of their plan, a committee consisting of Fred L. 
Savage and D. C. Stephenson aroused Simmons from his bed 
at three o'clock one morning during the Klonvokation to persuade 
him that it was advisable to divide his duties and to have the 
Klonvokation select another person for the office of Imperial 
Wizard, for which office they urged him to recommend Hiram 

The Klan Changes Hands 


Wesley Evans. They found Simmons courteous but unwilling 
to act. The necessary clause revising the Constitution was not yet 
ready. Besides he had hoped, when the change was made, to 
place Judge Grady, of North Carolina, in the office of Imperial 

The committee knew that a little pressure would have to be 
used upon him to secure the desired objective. As Simmons 
himself recalls the incident: 

Mr. Savage became grave and very pointedly said, "Don't 
you permit your name to come before the Klonvokation (as 
Imperial Wizard). Now if you know of any one, Colonel, 
who is contemplating submitting your name, you go to him 
and stop him before the meeting." 

I looked at him and said, "Why?" He said. "You know 
there are men here that are down here to raise hell,' and 
he said, "We have information that if your name is mentioned 
on the 'floor of Klonvokation, there are men there who are 
going to get up and attack your character." And he said, 
"The minute your character is attacked there is going to be 
somebody killed. I have got men placed and have given 
orders to shoot and shoot to kill any damn man that attacks 
the character of Colonel Simmons. Consequently, a rough 
house is going to be provoked and the Klonvokation will be 
destroyed, and you know the newspaper men are here, and 
not being' permitted to enter, they are sitting out there wait- 
ing, hoping that some friction will be started and the Klonvo- 
kation blow up, and we have had such a wonderful meeting 
so far, we can't afiford for it to be broken up in a fight 
and bloodshed and possibly a killing. Now in order to pre- 
serve the harmony and the peace and the wonderful carry- 
ing on of the Klonvokation as we have it, let us beat those 
birds, and you give them a message in which you refuse to 
allow your name to come before them to succeed yourself. 

After a few minutes' pause they (Savage and Stephenson) 
suggested that it would never do for the Klonvokation to be 
destroyed, that we would never come out from in under the 
disgrace of such an event, and for emergency purposes, asked 
me if I wouldn't name as my choice Hiram Wesley Evans, 
in order to meet the situation. I told them, as I have just 
stated, that there was nothing on the board against Hiram 
Wesley Evans and that possibly he might fit in in an emer- 
gency as he had knowledge of the workings of the office 
had been there for a year with it. And Savage says, ' Good! 
All we want to do is to meet the emergency and to avert this 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

crisis, and Dr. Evans will fit in temporarily until vou can 
get a man to suit you." 

I answered that by saying that I believed that would be 
all right under the circumstances. They said, "Then you 
name Dr. Evans as your successor?" I said, "Under the 
circumstances and the facts of this little conference here I 
am agreeable to him."- ' 

When the Klonvokation met later that day a new Imperial 
Wizard was chosen. Klansmen back in Pennsylvania were some- 
what surprised when they learned that Hiram Wesley Evans was 
the man whose "official mandates, decrees, edicts, rulings and in- 
structions" their oath now pledged them to obey. Shortly there- 
after D. C. Stephenson was placed in charge of Pennsylvania and 
Sam D. Rich was now obliged to take orders from Columbus as 
well as from Atlanta. 

In the South where the Klan had acquired an evil reputation 
under the Simmons-Clarke regime because of the prevalence of 
masked lawlessness, Evans promptly made an effort to increase 
the prestige of the Order by inaugurating a reform. He annulled 
Clarke's contract. When the Atlanta Klavern defended Clarke 
and demanded his reinstatement, Evans annulled its charter and 
ordered the Klavern disbanded. Charges were brought against 
Clarke for violation of the Mann Act— whether on a trumped up 
case or not is controversial— and his influence killed. Simmons, 
too, was soon persuaded to sell out his interest and retire from 
the organization. In addition, Evans commissioned General 
Nathan B. Forrest as Grand Dragon of Georgia with instructions 
to weed out Klan lawlessness from that state. General orders 
were given throughout all the realms providing that Klansmen 
deposit their robes with the door-keepers of their klaverns when 
leaving and forbidding Klansmen to have any regalia in their 
private possession without the permission of their Exalted 
Cyclops. It was hoped that this would check unauthorized Klan 
demonstrations and at the same time make it easier to apprehend 
any non-members who committed lawless acts while disguised as 

In Pennsylvania, as elsewhere in the North, there had not yet 
occurred much lawlessness by Klansmen. Stephenson was, there- 
fore, under no pressure to win back public approval by strict 

The Klan Changes Hands 


measures. On the contrary, the advent of the new regime meant 
a relaxation of discipline. A. L. Cotton, who was familiar with 
the Klan's activities throughout most of the state, maintained that 
with Stephenson's assumption of control, money became the im- 
portant thing. Under Simmons the lodge idea had been prominent 
and considerable attention had been paid by the organizers m 
Pennsylvania to the selection of desirable members and to rituahs- 
tic instruction. Klavern meetings were held regularly each week 
and initiations were generally held indoors and were well guarded. 
It had not been compulsory to buy robes during the Simmons 
regime, although a majority of Klansmen did purchase them . 
through the Order at a price of five dollars each. 

The change which occurred beginning with 1923 was described 
by Mr. Cotton as follows: 

"When D. C. Stephenson came in we were ordered to 
call in our rituals, altar equipment Paraphernalia. M^^^^^^^ 
ings were to be held monthly instead of weekly. Stephenson \ 
told us that the oath could be administered ^.^y^^ere. The 
Klan was to be 'a movement' not 'an Order^ Now ^jery 
body was supposed to buy robes. So the five dolkj^ wa^ 
just added to the initiation fee and the robe was sent auto^ 
matically. The price of the robe was even raised to $6.50 / 
fir a short time. Incidentally, we found out afterwards 
that the extra $1.50 was to be d-ided equally betw^^^^^^^ 
Kleagle who got the member and the King Kleagle, Rich, 
but Rich kept it all. , • 

"We did call in the rituals for about six weeks. _ Dunng 
that time progress virtually ceased in P^^^^y^f"'^; , ^.^^ 
few members that did come in were not reported and the 
money was kept under another name. I- myself went down 
S Evans to protest against Steve's methods but found that 
EvSis was supporting him. Evans merely repeated the talk 
about how we' wanted to make this -to a great movement 
not iust a lodge. Rich, for his part, straddled. He tried to 
keep in the go^d graces of Evans and still keep his field force 
Sed! hx of us in the field at the time --usly ob^^^^^^^^^^ 
to the abandonment of rituahstic work and the mere col 
lection of money. 

"We redistributed the rituals and kept on; but the same 
care was no longer given to the selection of members. O 
course the membership grew. They came m by the hun 
dreds ; but the old spirit wasn t there. 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

Coincident with the coming of the Evans-Stephenson regime 
occurred a change in the methods of propagation. Before 1923 
there had been Httle variation from the following procedure: 
First a public meeting was held at which a speaker, preferably 
unknown to any of his audience and introduced under an assumed 
name, discussed the principles of the Order and the immediate 
need for action. At this time cards were passed and those in- 
terested were asked to give their names and addresses, their 
church affiliation and certain other pertinent details. Next the 
qualifications of those who had signified their interest were dis- 
cussed in a meeting of the Klan and any questionable persons 
were referred to a Klokann committee for investigation. Finally, 
those believed desirable were personally solicited to join. 

It required both time and skill for Klansmen engaged in solicit- 
ing to keep their affiliation with the Order a secret until certain 
that the prospective candidate was willing to join. At any rate 
it was far too slow a process to satisfy those leaders who wished 
to whip up a mass movement sufficiently large to secure for them- 
selves the goals which ambition or cupidity had set. It was de- 
cided, therefore, to supplement this method with practices of 
demonstrated efifectiveness when used by political campaigners, 
namely great open-air meetings advertised as "MONSTER 
DEMONSTRATIONS." To stimulate interest and help swell 
the attendance, urgent invitations were usually sent to every klan 
within driving radius. Handbills were often secretly distributed 
to all native-born Protestants and, where possible, newspapers 
were urged to print notices of such demonstrations in their news 
columns. "Eighteen Hundred Loaves of Bread for Klan Meet," 
headlined one friendly paper.* Then, days before the event, 
arrows would appear along the highways directing travellers to 
the site. 

It was usually planned, if possible, to stage the gathering near 
the center of sufficient anti-Klan sentiment to provoke a counter 
demonstration. If this occurred, it was interpreted by the Klan 
leaders as unmistakable evidence of the danger to the country of 
all Catholics and aliens and of the need of a powerful Klan 
organization to combat these hostile groups. In any case the 
expectancy of trouble served to heighten the general excitement 
and provided a happy interlude to the dull ennui of small town 


The Klan Changes Hands 51 

and village life from which most of the Klan membership came. 
Thrill seekers flocked to these demonstrations and Klan officials, 
if hard pressed to supply the thrills, were sometimes put to the 
expense of hiring an aviator to perform a few stunts above the 

Often, as a part of the program, a huge initiation of scores or 
hundreds of men was staged. The setting was usually favorable: 
the dark night all around; the hillside lighted by giant crosses; 
robed and hooded men weaving through the crowd ; shadows flick- 
ering; on the outskirts, uniformed men bearing arms guarding 
the site; the excited buzzing of voices punctuated perhaps by the 
sharp report of a pistol as some nervous guard fired to frighten 
a possible marauder; the gesticulating of a speaker to get at- 
tention from those whom his high-pitched voice did not attract. 
It was all very picturesque and calculated to free a man from his 
ordinary inhibitions. 

There were those who came knowing that they were to be 
initiated. The various klaverns in the vicinity had postponed 
initiations for weeks to guarantee a large number of candidates 
for "the big night." Others had come only as friendly visitors. 
An appeal was frequently made to this group to join their fellows 
who were about to be initiated into the Order. If they were 
moved by the occasion and had the necessary fifteen dollars, in- 
vestigation was waived, the oath administered without further 
routine and "the movement" enlarged. 

After the initiation ceremonies and as a climax to the evening 
usually came the parade. There was the excitement of getting 
people into line, marshals shouting out commands, members hurry- 
ing to join their units, the roll of the drums for silence, the final 
order: "look straight ahead, follow your leaders and keep silence," 
and then the tramp of feet. Sometimes a band led the way. Then, 
in an automobile or two, came the dignitaries in their colored 
robes and the standard bearers with their lighted crosses. Fol- 
lowing came robed and hooded men with only their shoes visible 
outside their skirts to give some hint of their social status. Some- 
times, ordered to keep their visers up, only the men from distant 
delegations whose chance of recognition was small, appeared m 
the line of march. Once in the town there was the crowd which 
lined the sidewalks, silent like the marchers, or noisy with cheers 

52 The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

or curses as their prejudices decreed. Even if no untoward in- 
cident happened to add excitement to the event, the marchers 
always heard and saw enough to make conversation for days 

The Klansmen enjoyed these parades. If denied the privilege 
of parading, they felt that their rights as American citizens had 
been withheld and they often grew violent. This was the case 
at Carnegie.^ On August 25, 1923, some ten thousand Klansmen 
gathered just outside the borough for a mass meeting and initia- 
tion, following which a parade through the town had been planned. 
Some excitement was anticipated for the town was divided almost 
equally into Catholic and Protestant sections. It was rumored 
that feeling was at fever height. After they had assembled, they 
were informed that the mayor of Carnegie, fearful of violence, 
had refused to grant the necessary permit for the parade. This 
sounded to the Klansmen like a Catholic challenge. The mood 
of the gathering grew ominous. Reports were carried to the 
officials that if the parade was not held the prestige of the Klan 
would be weakened and the crowd of friends disappointed. The 
Imperial Wizard, H. W. Evans, was present and hence in com- 
mand. He held a hurried conference with Sam Rich, the State 
head, Roy Barclay, marshal of the parade and W. J. Dempster. 
It was decided to have the parade in defiance of the mayor.« 

The direct route into the town crossed a bridge over the Pan 
Handle railway tracks. As the line moved down the hill, this 
narrow bridge was seen to be impassable having been blocked 
tight with trucks. The Klansmen detoured over an abandoned 
road to Glendale but the entrance from Glendale into Carnegie 
had to be made over a bridge which spanned the creek betwe'en 
the boroughs. Approaching the bridge, they were warned of op- 
position by an automobile which forced its way through the march- 
ing men. At the bridge another car was driven across the road 
to block the oncoming men. It was forcibly pushed to one side. 
As the hooded men crossed the bridge and entered Carnegie a 
shower of clubs and bricks rained upon them and at once every- 
thing at the head of the line was in confusion. Pressed from 
the rear by the advancing marchers, those at the front tried to 
force their way through the mob of several hundred men and 
boys who were massed in the street. Deputies who had been 

The Klan Changes Hands 53 

called from Pittsburgh shouted for order but were helpless. 
Hoods were knocked off ; robes torn. Four persons badly bruised 
were carried into a neighboring butcher shop. Others were taken 
to nearby doctors. When the marchers had succeeded m forcmg 
their way for about a block and a half, shots rang out and a 
young Klansman, Thomas Abbott, fell to the street. Dr. Jones' 
office was nearest and he was carried there. Shot m the temple 
he died almost immediately. 

The marchers in the rear had by this time reversed their di- 
rection and hastened back to their meeting place on the hill. 
Some of the hot heads who were well armed wanted to return to 
retaliate. Evans cautioned prudence and most of the Klansmen 
ran to their cars and drove away from the site before inquisitive 
police could hne the highways and ask them embarrassing ques- 

For the Klansmen who had been in the thick of the rioting, 
this incident provided more excitement than they had bargained 
for. Expecting resistance and willing enough to play at war- 
fare some had come with pockets bulging with automatic pistols ; 
but they had not steeled themselves to use them with deadly in- 
tent. The shots which had been fired were doubtless discharged 
more from fright than from the desire to kill. 

To compensate for torn clothes, battered heads and a murdered 
member, however, was the stimulating effect of the riot upon the 
enrollment of new Klansmen. Americans had been attacked. A 
ninety page booklet entitled The Martyed Klansman was dis- 
tributed, giving in heroic style the Klan version of the incident 
and the' testimony presented in the legal proceedings which fol- 
lowed. Its introduction explained that: 

"This is the story of the murder of a native-born American 
in his native land, at the hands of a ruthless mob m Car- 
negie ... . 

"It tells of the dastardly deeds of an enemy in trampling 
the Stars and Stripes of our country in the dust of the streets. 
It tells of the unwarranted attempts to injure native-born 
Americans, peaceably following the flag of our country and 
the Cross of Christ in a crusade for America. It tells ot 
the reserved character of parading Klansmen as shown by 
their reluctance to commit violence, their earnest endeavor 
to keep within the law, even when OLD GLORY was 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

dragged to the ground, and when Americanism was suffering 
an open onslaught by its bitterest enemy within the confines 
of our country ..." 

With romantic embellishment, the story of Carnegie was retold 
many times to possible recruits. Many were stirred with resent- 
ment against the "dirty papists" and joined in the movement to 
protect their common birthright. Evans is said to have remarked 
before leaving the field the night of the riot, ahhough he sub- 
sequently denied having done it, that Abbott's death would mean 
25,000 new members for the Klan. If made, the statement was 
prophetic. Recruits flocked into the Order in the surrounding 
districts and the organizers became, at least temporarily, affluent. 
Local Kleagles in other areas welcomed more of these incidents 
in order that they, too, might profit. 

Scottdale was first to attempt its repetition. The neighboring 
town of Everson was overwhelmingly Catholic, and consequently 
the schools and government of the town were controlled by the 
Catholic group. The Klan felt that a demonstration might serve 
to warn the Catholics that this was a Protestant country. More- 
over, some Catholic youths of Everson had waylaid an automobile 
filled with Klansmen returning from a neighboring demonstra- 
tion, had taken their regalia and with these had staged a hilarious 
early morning demonstration of their own. The prestige of the 
Scottdale Klavern had consequently suffered and this incident was 
another reason why local Klansmen wished to have a demonstra- 

The date was set for the Saturday following the riot at Car- 
negie. Word went out to the other Klaverns that there was a 
tough bunch at Scottdale. Klansmen were urged to come in mass. 
As an inducement free refreshments were offered. The watch- 
word was, "Remember Carnegie and Come Prepared." 

The community was agog with excitement for the entire week 
preceding the event. The burgess had issued a permit for the 
parade and the line of march was planned to pass the largest 
Catholic Church in the community. Father Lambing, its priest, 
was much disturbed and together with several of his more con- 
servative members worked diligently to check some of his par- 
ishioners who had sworn that "no masked Klansmen would get 

The Klan Changes Hands 


as far as Pittsburgh Street.^ Klansmeii, on their part, boasted 
that if one of their number fell, there would not be a Catholic 
left alive in Scottdale by the next morning. 

The evening of the demonstration came. Cars marked with 
small American flags had followed the signs that pointed to Kelley 
Field all that day. When the time scheduled for the parade had 
arrived at least three thousand Klansmen and Klan sympathizers 
and almost as many Catholics lined the streets. The Klansmen in 
the crowd had been instructed to be on the watch for any on- 
lookers whose speech or actions showed that they intended violent 
action to gather around them and be ready to prevent it. Roofs 
and windows were full of organized groups prepared for action 
if either side committed an overt act. The street lights over a 
part of the town unexpectedly went out for a short time and 
increased the nervousness of the onlookers. The Secretary of the 
Scottdale Klan testified that covered trucks containing Klansmen 
and equipped with machine guns were parked on the hill which 
dominated the Catholic Church and parsonage.^ 

Finally, some two hours after the time scheduled, the marchers 
were sighted. A State Trooper led the way. Roy Barclay, 
Lemuel Peebles, H. C. Howard and Harry Bolan, all of Pitts- 
burgh, immediately followed. But the line was disappointingly 
short.' Most of the marchers were those who had just been 
initiated A few more State Troopers were stationed at intervals 
among them and "the Homestead Wreckers" who boasted of 
their courage were also in line. Akogether there were only 
1236 « in the line of march and none of them were masked. They 
encountered no opposition. Having finished the parade they re- 
turned unharmed to their place of meeting. 

If the violence at Carnegie was a surprise to many the absence 
of violence was as much of a surprise at Scottdale. Before the 
parade there had been divided council at Kelley Field. James A. 
Miller who, as Exalted Cyclops of the local Klavem, had been 
eaaer for a chance to demonstrate the power of his organization, 
had changed his mind and counselled against having the parade 
at all Thoroughly frightened he refused to march. Out-of-town 
officials who were less conscious of the existing feeling m the 
community wished to go through with the original plans. The 
situation was saved by a detail of State Police. They offered \o 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

participate in the parade but ordered that the marchers must 
leave off their masks. This automatically cut down the size of 
the parade for none dare march if the prospect of recognition 
was great. Many local Klansmen heaved deep sighs of relief for 
in spite of their boasting they had no real desire to become pos- 
sible targets for bullets. On the other hand, to antagonistic 
Catholics and their friends, the small group of unmasked marchers 
appeared an insufficient challenge to provoke them to action. 

A little excitement was provided after the paraders had returned 
to Kelley Field. Several foolhardy boys, wondering what the 
result would be, fired a shot from the nearby car tracks toward 
the gathering. Instantly there was a heavy volley from the guards 
at the Field and before the boys could get behind the sheltering 
embankment, one had received a flesh wound. Klansmen had 
difficulty in magnifying this incident into the proportions of an 
attack. The way many of them felt about it was expressed in 
the testimony of Roy Barclay, one of the stafif from the State 
Office who led the parade. "And what happened at Scottdale?" 
the attorney inquired. "That was a disappointment," replied 
Barclay. "There was only a little skirmish . . . We went there 
expecting to defend ourselves . . . and there was no trouble." 

If the Klansmen were anxious for trouble, they encountered 
it a few months later at Lilly, a town along the Pennsylvania 
railroad in Cambria County. Here the Klan made the serious 
mistake of holding a demonstration where there was not sufficient 
local sentiment in the community itself to support it and to keep 
opposition in check. Lilly was largely Catholic in population and 
the four hundred Klansmen who had chartered a special train 
from Johnstown and had come up to "give the Micks something 
to think about," appeared to the Catholic leaders like a foreign 
invasion and challenged them to action. 

The Klansmen who had donned their regalia in the train and 
had marched to their meeting place found the hostility of the 
crowd which followed them ominous. They decided it would be 
best to curtail their meeting and reboard their train. They were 
obliged to return through darkened streets for the town lights 
had been turned off. Flashlights, however, were directed upon 
their faces and curses toward their ears. Rioting began when, 
near the depot, a stream of water from a fire-hose was turned 

The Klan Changes Hands 57 

upon them. Some Klansmen attempted to seize the hose. One 
was shot through the arm. Many were injured, both of Klansmen 
and of their opponents. One Klansman, a Mr. Poorbaugh. sub- 
sequently died from injuries received durmg the riotmg. 

As is common in most cases of this kind, each side in the 
conflict stoutly maintained that the other was the aggressor Nor 
were they hypocritical in their attitudes. They believed it. Among 
the Klansmen who participated in these parades, the prevalence 
of fear was general. They thought that they were m danger oi 
personal injury. Officials apparently never encouraged them to 
attack opposing groups-only to defend themselves m case of 
attack The few cases of rioting which took place were, of course, 
magnified for propaganda purposes and this stmiulated fear 
among the credulous. Likewise the suggestion, constantly re- 
peated "Come prepared! We may need to defend ourseh^s ! 
could not help but create suspicion. One Exalted Cyclops whose 
connection with the Klan was well known throughout his com- 
munity never ventured forth from his home without a pistol. 
When he took off his coat in Klavern meeting, there it was 
hanging under his arm. If he had said nothing about it, the 
suggestive effect of his example upon his own Klansmen must, 
nevertheless, have been great. 

It is small wonder, then, that Klansmen attended the parades 
and outdoor meetings with arms. Testifying about a demonstration 
in Reading, Klansman L. D. Peebles said, "Everybody was pretty 
heavily armed . . • There was, as I recall. 2500 to 3000 people 
there . . • (They had) all manner of defense, anyways from 
Krag Jorgensens to a lump of lead on a chain . - . (One man) 
had three Krag Jorgensen rifles in his Ford and six automatic 
pistols on himself . . . They were always, apparently, looking 
for outside interference." - At a Bristol (Bucks Co.) demonstra- 
tion, police stopped automobiles containing Klansmen armed with 
revolvers and riot sticks.- At a Wilkinsburg (Allegheny Co.) 
parade many Klanswomen who marched were armed with maple 
clubs which had been distributed to them prior to the parade and 
which they carried under their robes.- At a West Kittannmg 
(Armstrong Co.) demonstration which was attended by some 
25 000 Klansmen from three states, the men "had revolvers and 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

sawed off shotguns." The evidence showed that this practice 
was customary all over the state. 

In their efforts to secure publicity the Klans were generally 
scornful of the local papers and in most cases would have expe- 
rienced difficulty if they had tried to use them. Editors in the 
smaller towns usually ended the year with very narrow margins 
of profit. They could not afford to risk a boycott by either the 
pro-Klan or the anti-Klan elements in their communities and this 
would generally have occurred if they had taken a definite stand 
on the issue. In consequence, editor after editor studiously 
avoided any mention of the Klan either editorially or in his news 
columns unless a conspicuous public demonstration had been held. 

Moreover, the Klan speakers and organizers, as a means of 
defense against a generally hostile metropolitan press, persistently 
told their hearers that they could not believe what they read in 
the daily papers, that the press was under the control of Catholics, 
Jews and foreigners even if it was not always owned by these 
groups. After the Carnegie and Lilly riots had been reported 
without mercy to Klan feelings, this charge was put forth more 
strongly than ever by the officials of the Order. To correct this 
situation a Daily Dispatch Publishing Company was incorporated 
in western Pennsylvania to print a Klan newspaper. The Realm 
officials urged the purchase of stock to finance this enterprise 
but in spite of liberal financial support from Klansmen, the com- 
pany failed within a year because of mismanagement. When the 
Keystone American, which the national office had sponsored in 
1924 and published for a short time in Washington, D. C, was 
discontinued, the Pennsylvania Realm was without an official pub- 
lication of its own and had to rely upon other forms of publicity. 

One of these was the burning of crosses. Planted high on 
some hill or mountain side and announced by exploding bombs 
or dynamite, a blazing cross seldom failed to bring people hurrying 
out to see it. While there were instances where crosses were 
burned primarily as a threat or warning, most of these demonstra- 
tions were inspired solely as a publicity device. Each Klan was 
instructed to burn at least four per year as a visible sign that 
the Order was functioning locally.^'' Orders were often sent from 
the Realm office for more spectacular displays. Harry E. A. 
McNeel, Kleagle in Armstrong County, was once ordered by 

The Klan Changes Hands ^9 

Sam D. Rich to burn a cross at every pomt in the county where 
there were organized Klans. In pursuance of th>s order he had 
fifty crosses burned simultaneously in that county Herbert C. 
Shaw, who succeeded Rich as Grand Dragon of the Realm, also 
believed in this form of publicity. On August 6, 1927, for ex- 
ample, he ordered a cross to be burned by every chartered K an 
in the state. Indeed, of all the public activities of the Order, the 
one which came first to the minds of non-members when asked 
about the Klan was this practice of burning crosses which proved 
a most effective form of publicity. Unlike press copy a burning 
cross left no permanent record which might later embarrass the 
Order and yet it set a thousand tongues wagging about the per- 
petrators of the deed and their possible intent. 

From the foregoing it is evident that the transfer of the con- 
trol of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan from William Joseph 
Simmons and his agent E. Y. Clarke to Imperial Wizard Hiram 
Wesley Evans, while marking a temporary reform m Klan prac- 
tices in the South, was coincident with the opposite tendency m 
the Realm of Pennsylvania where Stephenson and Rich were 
given the leadership. Having set up numerical growth and per- 
sonal profit as the goals toward which to work, these men had 
little patience with any of their subordinates who did not sui 
their methods to these ends. Under such conditions it was natural 
for the pubHc activities of the Order to grow increasingly sen- 
sational and to take such forms as cross burnings, out-of-door 
initiations, parades and rioting. 

The temporary success which accompanied the use of sensa- 
tionalism blinded the higher officials to the evils which their 
methods encouraged. In the first place the emphasis- on numerica 
growth by sensational demonstrations brought to the top and kept 
in office an undesirable type of leaders,-men who were willing 
to speak "from the teeth out," who were more interested m profits 
than Protestantism and who were able, because of their lack of 
scruple to turn in large numbers of recruits. Consequently the 
membership rolls of local Klans were overloaded with many un- 
desirables who were a constant source of weakness to the Order. 
This combination of unscrupulous leaders and of uneducated, 
credulous, short-sighted Klansmen craving excitement was respon- 
sible for most of the excesses which in time blackened the reputa- 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

tion of the Klan in Pennsylvania just as earlier it had been 
blackened in the South. One need only mention the Homestead 
Wrecking Crew in which A. L. Cotton himself claimed honorary 
membership, the gang of ruffians who ran the Wesley Klan in 
Venango County, the hoodlums who threw cow manure over 
buildings in Manns Choice, the black-robed gang who served Paul 
M. Winter in Philadelphia and hauled ofif people to an old barn 
outside the city fitted up as a torture chamber, the group who 
proposed to castrate a Negro in Everett, the group who admin- 
istered a horse-whipping in Mechanicsburg, the Harrisburg 
Wreckers, the Night-riders in Reading. These are just a few 
of the Klan groups within the state whose members believed in 
violence and practiced it. 

It is easy, however, to generalize too hastily regarding the 
•personnel of the Order in the state. Certainly intelligent leader- 
ship at the top was badly lacking from the start. As regards 
the rank and file Klansmen, it may be safely said that after the 
experience at Carnegie and Lilly and the consequent jail sentences, 
bills for litigation and "lodges of sorrow" for dead Klansmen,' 
only a small fraction of the membership remained permanent 
advocates of violence. A survey of the Exalted Cyclops in several 
regions shows that with few exceptions they were ordinary trades- 
men or small business men many of whom were without formal 
education beyond the elementary school. As a rule they were 
free from hypocrisy. They honestly believed that there was a 
definite foreign and Catholic menace. Hiram W. Evans himself 
freely admitted that the Klans "were mostly composed of poor 
people." 18 In 1927, seventy-three Pennsylvania Exalted Cyclops 
stated upon oath that the membership of the state was "gleaned 
from the average walk of life and such as composes our Prot- 
estant churches, our lodges, commercial clubs and other civic or- 
ganizations." The membership rolls of the Klan are still closely 
guarded but from the few which have come into the hands of 
the writer, the conclusion can be drawn that, barring the intellec- 
tuals and the liberals, the white, native-born Protestant population 
was occupationally well represented. Unquestionably, however, 
the most credulous parts of this population found their way into 

The Klan Changes Hands 61 

the Klan The rolls of the local organizations should have con- 
siderable value to those who make it their business to traffic m 
fear and turn credulity into profit. 


1 D. C. Steohenson. From his aeposHion filed m " „ ^H.SIf 092?)^- lo"'"^- 
i^&to"th^^ w/i^eTb/I- L. Cotto. in a personal interview. 

testimony presented at the C°""er s mquest^ub^^^^^^^ .nc tmg to 

Abbott. John Conely, Bwgf ^ . p/^'j-;'^^^ 'before Justice Prosser is valuable See 
Riot and the testimony given at his hearing Deruic j above): H. 

also the testimony of followmg, P^"-;|f^- S/263 « • Roy'saTclay. ,./154 ff; 
k t l^^'^^h 3A^^or^e mcidents^^ 

S^;t\t'T^:yf *th'[hrmu^r'def. SfeghTnVc"unty Court of Oyer and Terminer. 
6. IS7of'>or?. Bar^Uy-'tr^nfcrip-t'of testimony. Case 1897 in Equity (above), 
vol. 1, P- 136. . T-j„,„,j ■Miiipr K C resident of Scottdale. 

I- t'o t?e wrr b'/j't-K^lt^l'/lecJ^Ur^y-of the Scottdale Klavern. 

11. Testimony of Joseph G. tlemmer, c. ^. ui j 

II- l^i^emeiifohohn J. McGuckm, Chief of Police at Bristol. Van A. Barrickman 
14. S?pfoT Testimony (ibid) ii/364 ; T.timony of Mrs. Mamie Bittner. 

l-ilS:^^.S^-M.S?e-: Transcript of Testi- 

mony, Vol. 1, p. 3.20. iq=^ n :> 

18. The Kourier Magazine, February, 1953, p. - 


The Organization of the Klan 

'The government of the order shall ever be military 
in character, especially in its executive management 
and control, and no legislative or constitutional 
amendment hereafter shall encroach upon, affect or 
change this fundainental principle of the Invisible 
Empire." — FroTii Article 1, Section 2 of the Klan 

There should have been little doubt in the minds of the "citi- 
zens" of the "Invisible Empire" about the general type of organi- 
zation they had joined. It had a written constitution which was 
distributed widely. Drawn up and published under the regime 
of Col. Simmons/ it was largely written by him although the 
supreme legislative body of the Order was vested by the charter 
with the power to "adopt and amend Constitutions and By-laws," 
and a committee of that body did work over the instrument prior 
to its publication. This constitution set up a highly centralized 
"Empire" which was subdivided geographically into "Realms" or 
states and these in turn further divided into "Provinces" (groups 
of counties) and into local districts called "Klantons." This last 
division might include a township or small city or a few wards 
of a larger city. It represented roughly the area from which the 
local Klavern drew its members. 

Each of these geographical areas had its own set of officers.* 
The Klanton officers with minor exceptions were duplicated in 
the Province and were differentiated by the prefix "Great." Simi- 
larly the state officers were designated as "Grand" and the national 
officers as "Imperial." 

*The Klanton otHcers were: the Exalted Cyclops, president; Klaliff, vice-president; 
Klokard, lecturer; Kludd, Chaplain; Kligrapp, secretary; Klabee, treasurer; Kladd. con- 
ductor; Klarogo, inner guard ; Klexter, outer guard ; Night-Hawk, in charge of candidates ; 
and three Klokann, board of investigators, auditors and advisers. 

The Organization of the Klan 63 

Power was largely centralized in the national - ''I-Pj^^ts 
organization It has been noted that the geographical d visions 
o The Ku Klux Klan parallel somewhat the geographical divisions 
o the United States government. The similarity between th 
two governments ends there. The Federal Constitution of Ae 
U S sets up three distinct departments of government which 
were dSned to balance and check each other. _ The Klan con 
^ tution provided for an overwhelmingly powertul executive de- 
pirent'and, subordinate to it, relatively weak legislative and 

^"TL^\egt^^^^^^^^ branch of the Klan government • called the 
Klon^kadon was made up of all imperial o^cials toge" 
the highest administrative officer and one elected delegate 
er) from each realm and province, and all heads of local Klans 
who cared to attend. Regular biennial meetings were held 

The procedure of these meetings made it a comparatively simp e 
„.atter'for the Imperial Wizard to control them. The ^^P^ - 
officials who presided over its meetings were appointed by the 
Wizard and all action taken was subject to ^^^^^^^ . 
veto could be overridden by a three-fourths vote of he Klonvo 
kation but in practice this was almost impossible to obtain. Vot ng 
was proportional. Each realm was allowed one vote for each 
r hundred Klansmen or majority fraction thereof who were^ 
eood standing. Each Exalted Cyclops attending was allowed a 
p sonal vote'and the remainder of the realm voting strength was 
divided equally among the other representatives present at the 
Klonvokation.3' Since comparatively few Klans ^ ^ 
hundred members and many had from two to hundred mem 
bers, this voting provision obviously gave the bulk of th 
strength into the hands of realm and provincial officers whom 
he Wizard could control through his power « appointment^ 
Under such conditions an Imperial Wizard would ^ave o be 
weak indeed not to be able to control the twenty-^ve per cen^^^^^^ 
the votes of the Klonvokation necessary to prevent his veto being 

""^Bl^deT'this veto power over legislation passed by the Klon- 
vokation, the Imperial Wizard enjoyed in his own "g^* ^he power 
to furnish all laws for the governing of realms not f u ly or- 
ganized * Even after the Realm Kloreros were estabhshed and 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

voted on their own legislation, none could become effective unless 
ratified by him. This was true also of the rules and by-laws 
formulated by each separate Klan. These, too, had to be sub- 
mitted to the Imperial office and await its approval.* 

In Kloranic and ritualistic matters the Constitution » delegated 
to the Emperor complete charge of "creating" as well as of 
"promulgating" the "Kloranic, ritualistic and philosophic work 
of the Order." This extensive legislative power included the 
right to "design or cause to be designed, all paraphernalia, regalia, 
uniforms, costumes, emblems, insignia, flags, banners, and jewelry 
for individual wear, honorary and official jewels, hoods, pamphlets 
and literature of the Order." When Col. Simmons withdrew 
from the Order giving up his title of Emperor, his office was 
combined with that of Imperial Wizard and this latter office made 
even more potent. 

The judicial body set up by the Constitution was called the 
Kloncilium. Consisting of the Imperial Wizard and fifteen other 
officers called Genii and appointed by the Wizard, this body served 
as the court of appeal in all matters of a judicial nature. Its 
decisions were final but, according to the constitution, only "when 
same are ratified by the Imperial Wizard."^ The Kloncilium 
not only had the above mentioned judicial function but was also 
the advisory council and executive staff of the national organiza- 
tion. Included in its membership was the Klaliff or vice-president 
of the Order, the Klazik or head of the Department of Realms, 
the Kligrapp or secretary, the Klabee or treasurer, the Klonsel 
or attorney, the Night Hawk or head of the Department of In- 
vestigation, the Klokard who was responsible for publicity and 
for disseminating the ideas which the national organization wished 
spread among the membership. It included, as well, seven other 
officers of lesser responsibilities. It was required to meet as a 
group in July of each year and could be called in special meeting 
by the Imperial Wizard or by five of its members. These formal 
meetings were not particularly essential for a majority of the 
members of the Kloncilium had their offices along with the Im- 
perial Wizard in Atlanta. There was also a vague grant of 
legislative power given to the Kloncilium by Section three of the 
seventh Article of the Constitution which read: "It shall have full 

The Organization of the Klan 


power and authority ... to act in the interim between sessions 
of the Imperial Klonvokation." 

The most noticeable feature of the National organization was 
the centralization of power in the office of the Imperial Wizard. 
He was endowed with virtual dictatorship of the Order. In view 
of the Klan criticism of the monarchial organization of the 
Roman Catholic Church and the lip service which the Order gave 
to democratic government, one is surprised to find its own or- 
ganization extremely monarchial both in principle and m practice. 
"The government of this Order shall ever be mihtary m char- 
acter " is plainly stated in the first Article of the Constitution 
and as if to make this un-amendable, there follows the statement, 
"no' legislative enactment or constitutional amendment hereafter 
shall encroach upon, afiPect or change this fundamental prmciple 
of the Invisible Empire." » 

As commander-in-chief of the Order, the Imperial Wizard was 
given supreme supervision over all departments of the orgamza- 
tion« "He shall have full authority and power to appoint all 
Imperial officers and Grand Dragons ^» ... to remove from 
office at any time anv officer of this Order of any rank or station 
or capacity, or any employee whomsoever, on the ground ot 
incompetency, disloyalty, neglect of duty or for unbecoming 

The "original jurisdiction" given to the Klonvokation became 
a rather empty grant. The control exercised by the Imperial 
Wizard over that body was determining. In practice it could 
pass no legislation for the Order which was not acceptable to 
him. His appointees, members of his executive council, acted as 
its president, secretary, and committee chairmen." The control- 
ling vote was in the hands of delegates who were his appointees, 
directly or indirectly. He appointed and controlled the Klon- 
cilium which was empowered to act in the interim between its 
biennial meetings. Moreover, all residual power was placed m 
his hands. "Whenever a question arises ... not provided for 
in this constitution," the Imperial Wizard "shall have full power 
and authority to determine such questions and his decision, which 
he shall report to the Imperial Klonvokation. if requested, shall 
be final." 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

The Kloncilium in its judicial capacity was similarly subservient 
to the Imperial Wizard whose ratification was necessary for a 
decision. But while this council was powerless to act in the 
judicial capacity without the Wizard's approval, he in turn was 
not restricted by the necessity of securing its approval, or by 
effective constitutional checks of any kind.* 

He, alone, had the power to "specify the conditions on which 
charters shall be issued," to issue them, to suspend, or revoke 
them.^" He alone was given the privilege to "specify the duties 
of all officers regardless of rank or station," to "construct, in 
the name of this Order, with other members for its extension, 
financing, management, operation and business interests" and "to 
fix the compensation therefor." ^« In short, "the Imperial au- 
thority of this Order shall ever center and be vested in him and 
shall not be divided." " 

With this wide grant of power, it is evident that there was 
little constitutional hindrance to as autocratic a rule as the Wizard 
might wish. It is true that provision was made for his removal 
from office for a just cause. ^° The small chance of ever effecting 
such action is evident, however. A three-fourths vote of the 
members of the Kloncilium together with the approval of the 
Grand Dragons was necessary for his removal and all of these 
officers were his own appointees and could be immediately dis- 
missed for "disloyalty." 

Nor need the Wizard fear removal when his four-year term of 
office expired. In the quadrennial election for this office any 
Klansman in good standing "as determined by the records of the 
Imperial Palace" was eligible for election. But the voting was 
carried on by the Grand Dragons (Wizard-appointed) who met 
in executive session with voting power proportional to the mem- v 
bership of their respective realms. Since these Grand Dragons 
were uninstructed by their own membership and voted without 
obligation to the Klansmen of their own Realms, it is difficult to 
see how any Imperial Wizard who wished re-election could not 

*At the time of the litigation between Col. Simmons and H. W. Evans over the latter's 
seizure of control, the Superior Court of Fulton County, Georgia, decreed "that so far 
as the Constitution gives the Imperial Wizard the power to veto an act of the Imperial 
Klonciliui", the same is contrary to the charter." This meant that, if the Kloncilium in 
its e.xecutiye capacity acted affirmatively on any matter, the Imperial Wizard was bound 
by its action. When it is remembered, however, that any member of the Kloncilium 
could be dismissed "at any time" by the Wizard, open defiance of his wishes merely 
meant the elimination of such a member rather than a change in the 'V^'zard's policy. 

The Organization of the Klan 67 

obtain it. Indeed, H. W. Evans, in spite of much dissatisfaction 
within the Order, has been able to maintain himself m the ofhce 
of Imperial Wizard to the present time (1936). 

It naturally seemed strange to many outsiders how this self- 
termed one hundred per cent American Order, claiming to be 
the chief defender of the fundamental principles of democratic 
government, could tolerate such a frame of government Pressed 
for an explanation, the statement was often made by Klansmen 
that the secrecy of the Order and the type of work which it 
undertook opened the way for abuses both within and without the 
Order This necessitated highly centralized authority and mili- 
tary discipline to keep the more boisterous and radica^ of its 
members in hand. Moreover, the effectiveness of the Order, it 
was said, depended upon unity of action and absolute obedience 
to the governing officials. This too demanded a military rather 
than a parliamentary type of procedure. In spite of p ausible 
explanations, however, the contradiction between pnnciples and 
practice was a vulnerable point in the Klan's defenses and proved 
a serious weakness when internal criticism began to plague the 
Order Indeed, the Order succeeded as long as it did only because 
its membership accepted the ideals and leadership of the higher 
officials and did not try to change or criticize them. The Order 
was not set up as a flexible institution to be molded and modified 
by its membership. It was organized to serve the purpose of 
those at the top and as soon as the rank and file disagreed with 
that leadership the only alternatives were to submit or get out^ 
The largest subdivisions of the Invisible Empire were called 
"Realms" and generally followed state lines. The Imperial Wiz- 
ard was given the same close supervision and power over the 
realms as he exercised over the national organization. Realms 
could be organized only on declaration of the Wizard and all 
officials were named or approved and all laws and regulations 
furnished by him during the provisional period. 

The Realms passed through two stages of organization, the 
provisional and the chartered stage. In the former, the chief 
officer carried the title of King Kleagle which, in Pennsylvania 
was later changed to Imperial Representative. This officer had 
nothing but delegated authority and held office only at the pleasure 
of the Wizard. There was no provision for any self-government 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

within a Realm during the provisional stage. The Wizard ap- 
pointed and supervised his realm leaders who acted with dele- 
gated authority only. Indeed, many of their subordinates were 
responsible primarily to the national organization at Atlanta in- 
stead of to the realm ofihce and were paid from national head- 

In Pennsylvania these subordinates consisted chiefly of three 
groups of people. The most numerous were the Kleagles or 
recruiting agents. Their duties included the organization of local 
Klaverns and the collection of ten dollar donations (klectokens) 
from each initiate. The Realm office parceled out the territory 
among these Kleagles whose success depended chiefly upon the 
number of members they were able to secure for the Order. 
The second group consisted of lecturers who generally travelled 
about addressing large public gatherings with the purpose of 
stimulating an interest in the Klan and of aiding the Kleagles in 
their recruiting. A third group of officials became necessary as 
the organization progressed. These were the service men, in- 
vestigators and trouble hunters who enjoyed the distinction of 
being called "G-men." They were employed by the King Kleagle 
to check upon the activities of the recruiting officers, to discover 
and remedy any instances of dissention in the various klaverns 
and to recommend the suspension, banishment or re-instatement 
of Klansmen where advisable. They represented in a special way 
the Realm office. They were supposed to be more familiar with 
the technicalities of the organization and the intricacies of the 
ritual than the Kleagles and were used to instruct and correct 
the Klaverns in matters of procedure and policies and to advise 
them concerning the political, educational and social methods and 
measures which had the approval of the Realm officers. Finally, 
as the military branch of the Order, the Klavaliers, and the Junior 
Order developed, officials were appointed to administer these 
groups. : ' i 

When a Realm became "fully organized" the titular head was 
known as the Grand Dragon but otherwise the office was little 
effected. He remained an appointee of the Imperial Wizard and 
remained subject to his immediate dismissal. Provision was made 
in organized realms for a Klorero " or convention corresponding 
to the national Klonvokation, which was at least partially repre- 

The Organization of the Klan 


sentative. It consisted not only of Realm officers but also of the 
officers and five delegates from each Provmce of the Realm 
together with the Exalted Cyclops or executive heads of each 
loL klan in the Realm. The Klorero must be called on y par 
tially representative because (1) the state officers were not freely 
elected but chosen only on nomination of the Wizard-appomted 
Grand Dragons, (2) the executive ^^^^^^ ^^^^/^^^'^^ ^^"^^ 
Titans) were not elected but appointed by the Grand Dragon 
with the approval of the Imperial Klazik or officer m charge of 
Realms, and the other Provincial officials were aU nominated by 
the Great Titans, and (3) the Exalted Cyclops of the loca klans 
while not nominated by the Provincial or ^^^^e heads, had to be 
approved by them before they could assume office.- These fea- 
tures made it possible for the higher officials to so con rol the 
personnel of the Kloreros that little opposition to realm and 
imperial policies developed in these Realm conventions. _ 

Among the powers of the Klorero was that of electing the mne 
"Hydras" which made up the Grand Dragon's executive council. 
These elected officers could not be installed, however, until they 
had received the approval of the Imperial Klazik (later of the 
Imperial KlaHf?). The Kloreros were also authorized to pass 
laws for the Realm which were not inconsistent with the consti- 
tution of the Order. But here, too, the heavy hand of the central 
authorities could interfere. Absolute veto power over all legisla- 
tion of the Kloreros was given to both the Grand Dragon and 
the Imperial Wizard.-* 

The full effect of this control from the top was not evident m 
Pennsylvania as long as the internal affairs of the Realm ran 
smoothly. There was, however, a growing minority group which 
from 1924 on was opposed to the Hiram Wesley Evans-Sam D. 
Rich control. This minority group found it almost impossible to 
eet a hearing in the state Kloreros and they became more and 
more irritated. Working outside the Klorero, it finally convinced 
the national office that Rich should be withdrawn from Penn- 
sylvania and, in February 1926, his resignation was announced 
A temporary state head was appointed and the Imperia Wizard 
promised the leaders of the group opposed to Rich that he would 
nominate a Grand Dragon acceptable to the Realm. He promised 
to allow the next Klorero vote on the matter. The Klorero 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

met at DuBois in August and the matter was brought up. The 
choice of the Imperial Wizard was one Herbert C. Shaw, for- 
merly a Methodist Episcopal minister of Erie. He was looked 
upon by many as a tool of the Wizard and by others as too 
rabidly anti-Catholic. When the question of his ratification as 
Grand Dragon was put to a vote he was rejected. No new 
nominee was put forward. Instead, H. K. Ramsey, who repre- 
sented the Wizard, brought considerable pressure to bear upon 
some of the delegates present and ordered another vote on the 
question of Shaw's acceptance or the alternative of continuing an 
appointee from Atlanta as Grand Dragon. Some of the delegates 
withdrew and Shaw's appointment was ratified. This is a clear 
instance of the way the Klorero could be and was controlled by 
the national organization if occasion seemed to demand it. It 
should be understood, of course, that the constitutional right of 
Mr. Shaw to the office of Grand Dragon was unquestionable. 
The Imperial Wizard had the right to appoint whom he wished. 
As he had chosen to allow a vote of ratification, he could also 
choose to withdraw that privilege. 

With Mr. Shaw's installation as Grand Dragon, the chartered 
stage of the Realm of Pennsylvania may be said to have begun. 
Certain changes in the financial arrangements accompanied it* 
which had the effect of putting the Realm on a self-sustaining 
basis and necessitating that its expenditures be kept within the 
limits of its own income. 

The Provincial organization in Pennsylvania was, for consider- 
able time, not highly developed. During the regime of Sam Rich 
and the two temporary appointees that filled his office between 
his resignation and the selection of Herbert C. Shaw, there were 
but two Provinces in the Realm. The territory east of the Sus- 
quehanna comprised Province I, the remainder Province II. The 
latter, although organized later than East Pennsylvania, had, at 
the peak of its organization, more members than had Province I, 
but in 1926 it had but 46 per cent of the total Realm membership 
25 and subsequently declined more rapidly. 

Normally each province had eight officers, the Great Titan who 
was appointed by the Grand Dragon of the Realm and seven 
others who were elected by a Klonverse (convention) to which 

•See Page 74. 

The Organization of the Klan 71 

the Realm and Provmcial officers, the Exalted Cyclops and four 
delegates from each Klan m good standing might come^ fh 
function of this regional organization was -"-^f ^^J^^^^^^^^^^^^^ 
of the Klan constitution as fraternal and social. Its purpose was 
to promote good fellowship and maintain the interest of Klansmen 
in their Order.=« , „ 

The number of Provinces was increased during the H. C Shaw 
admmistration, perhaps in the hope that such action would check 
the dwindling interest and the declining membership. Great 
Titans travelled around and made pep speeches. Visitations were 
Planned during which a gavel was presented to the visited Klan 
wrh due ceremony. Regular meetings were rotated among the 
different locals within the Provinces like summer union services 
are rotated among the different churches of a commui.i ty Pro- 
vincial news began to appear in the national organ ot the Klan 
the Kourier Magazine, instead of local Klavern news witnessing 
both to a smalle? activity on the part of individual K averns ..d 
an increased regional activity. During the early part of the ad- 
ministration of Grand Dragon Stough, who replaced H. C Shaw 
in 1933, there were some fifteen Provinces. This number has 
been increased to sixty-seven, so that each county in the State 
is also an actual or potential Klan Province. This move has at 
least substantially increased the number of Great Titans and has 
perhaps served to fill some empty seats at the Realm Kloreros. 
Moreover, since the Titans are appointees of the Grand Dragon, 
it has doubtless served to give the Dragon added control over 
these gatherings. 

The Klanton-the smallest organized umt of the Order-also 
passed through two stages, provisional and chartered. During 
the first of these stages they were under the control of a Kleagle 
who often came unrequested into a community under orders to 
establish a local organization. In some instances, the Realm office 
sent Kleagles into communities as a result of petitions requesting 
that Klaverns be established. Sometimes a man in some outlying 
area who had joined a Klavern in his county seat or larger city 
thought it possible to secure enough persons in his immediate 
community to form a separate unit and, often with the added 
hope that he would be appointed a Kleagle, petitioned for one. 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

In whatever way the local Klavern was initiated, the officer in 
charge was always a Kleagle appointed by the Realm office with 
the approval of the Imperial Wizard from whom thus indirectly 
he received his credentials. When it appeared that factionalism 
was increasing and that there was a group opposed to his leader- 
ship, Imperial Wizard Evans took the precaution to have his 
Kleagles sign the following "Pledge of Loyalty" to him per- 
sonally : 

"I, the undersigned, in order to be a regular appointed 
Kleagle of the Invisible Empire, Knights of the Ku Klux 
Klan (Incorporated), do freely and voluntarily promise, 
pledge and fully guarantee a lofty respect, whole-hearted 
loyalty and unwavering devotion at all times and under any 
and all circumstances and conditions from this day and date 
forward to M^'-W-i-fevaas as Imperial Wizard of the Invisible 
Empire, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (Inc.). I shall work 
in all respects in perfect harmony with him and under his 
authority and directions, in all his plans for the extension 
and government of the Society, and under his directions, 
with any and all of my officially superior officers duly ap- 
pointed by him. 

"I shall at any and all times be faithful and true in all 
things, and most especially in preventing and suppressing any 
factions, schisms or conspiracies against him or his plans and 
purposes or the peace and harmony of the Society which 
may arise or attempt to arise. I shall discourage and strenu- 
ously oppose any degree of disloyalty or disrespect on the 
part of myself or any Klansman anywhere and at any time 
or place, towards him as the supreme chief governing head 
of the Society named. 

"This pledge, promise and guarantee I make is a condition 
precedent to my appointment stated above, and the continuity 
of my appointment as a Kleagle and it is fully agreed that 
any deviation by me from this pledge will instantly automati- 
cally cancel and completely void my appointment together 
with all its prerogatives, my membership in the Society, and 
I shall forfeit all remunerations which may then be due me. 

"I make this solemn pledge on my Oath of Allegiance and 
on my integrity and honor as a man and as a Klansman, 
with serious purpose to keep same inviolate. 

The Organization of the Klan 73 

"Done in the city of State of 

on this the 


day of A.D. 19.. 


Within the limitations etteCed ^y ^^,^^^^ XTZZ 
admit members was entirely m the Kl agle s hand. 

of the provisional ^^--J%f;°Z"C his commis- 

:lewhat by obliging ^"-^ Z^::^ ^^^^ the tem- 
The commission system by^^^^^^^ * w- P^, 

an ove.empha.s r~ 

, rather ^^-^;^:i:^j£'J.ZZ^l:..r way and 
Espectally wa th.s tru alt« ^^^^.^^^^^ 

was carried along by its own „ijiection was raised 

donation in hand -re utrned -J^ ; "ja Ltlg high member- 

t"':— r given that when the Man 

ship standards, ' P ^ , ^i,„ter and secure an 

delay the granting of a charter as long f 
larger membership as a prerequisite 

Ihere were three important f ^^^J^^ the right 
a local Klavern when it was chartered, ihe hrst 

eaders and, although confcsstng^ I vmpa hized^^^ ^^^^ ^^.^^ By July 

5°9^26%^rf?ad fof Scl°^granted .n the state. 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

to determine who should be included within its membership. 
When the charter had been granted, a vote could be taken on 
each member then upon the roll, and three negative votes was 
enough to reject anyone.^* Moreover, each new applicant had to 
have his name submitted in three separate meetings with an 
opportunity given for objections to his admission, and in addition 
undergo an investigation by a Klokann committee of three. If 
rejected, the applicant was barred, except by special dispensation 
of the Imperial Wizard, from renewing his application again for 
one year. 

A second advantage of being chartered was the privilege it 
gave to the local klan to share in the selection of its own officials. 
The Kleagle was removed from authority and an Exalted Cyclops 
and twelve Terrors were elected by the member Klansmen. It 
is true these officials could not be installed until they had been 
approved by the Great Titan or Grand Dragon within whose 
jurisdiction they were located and until the financial obligations 
of the Klan to its Province and Realm were met. Yet, in spite 
of these restrictions, some measure of self-government was 

The third advantage was financial. Prior to its chartering, no 
part of the "donation" fee of new members could be kept in the 
local treasury. The Kleagle got his share and the remainder was 
sent to the Realm office and distributed again there. After char- 
tering the Kleagle, of course, was out of the picture and the 
Exalted Cyclops who took his place as chief administrative officer 
served without salary. Thus $7.50* of each subsequent "donation" 
was retained by the local organization and could be used to meet 
local expenses, the remainder going to the national office. 

The judicial body of each local klan analogous to the Imperial 
Kloncilium in the national organization was called the Tribunal. 
It was set up only when occasion demanded and consisted of 
sixteen Klansmen chosen by lot from a group of twenty-four 
persons nominated by the Exalted Cyclops, Klaliff, Klokard and 
Kludd. Appeals from its decisions could be taken before the 
Grand Tribunal, a permanent board of twelve persons appointed 

*The records of some klaverns show that only five dollars of each klectoken was 
retained by the local klan. 

The Organization of the Klan 75 
by the Grand Dragon from among the Hydras and Giants of 

"onT could be brought before these bodies .f^ t^^^^^^^ 
charc^ed in writing with one of six classes of major crmimal 
offenses and if the Klokann committee, after investigation rec- 
ottenses ana offenses were: (1) treason against the 

ommended trial. The ottense^ were. ^ > ^kresDect of 

United States, (2) violation of Klan oaths C^) espect of 
virtuous womanhood, (4) violation of the laws ot the Ord.r 
I ng allegiance to a foreign person or institution, habtual 
Sunkennes? or profanity, (5) the pollution of 
and (6) repeated commission of a mmor offense.^ If the Klo 
kann^ omX e decided that the offense was a mmor one such 
as occasional drunkenness or profanity, disobedience of the rule 
L orders of the Klan or refusal to respond to a su„^ 
the Exalted Cyclops, the matter was referred to the iixaltea 
Cyclopstt handled the case personally without holding a trial 
In ase of trial for the major offenses, both the prosecutor and 
he defendant (or his counsel) could summon and present wit- 
nesses and argue the case before the Tribunal. No one cou d e 
present in any capacity, however, who was not ^ Clansman ,n 
!ood standing. Guilt or acquittal was determmed by a three- 
fourths vote of the Tribunal.3^ ,,e defen ant wa-c.ed gud^y 
the Tribunal assigned one of four penalties: (1) reprimand 
(2) suspension, (3) banishment and (4) bamshment forever with 
complete ostracism by all members of the Order. 

It will be evident from the foregoing that the only way a 
Klansman could be constitutionally removed from the Order by 
a fellow Klansman was by the process of trial and conviction 
in his local Klan and, if an appeal was taken, m the Grand 
Tribunal of his Realm. If convicted in some jurisdiction other 
than his own, the Klansman had the right of ^ppeal to the m- 
perial Kloncilium. There was, however, one exception to this 
procedure. The Imperial Wizard had the constitution^ power 
"at his discretion to issue banishment order" against a Ivlansman 
for any offense other than those specifically listed above which 
was "inimical to the best interest of this Order."- There was 
Te right of an appeal from this banishment to the Imperia 
KloncLm if it was made within ninety days a ter the date o 
banishment. If one assumes that the Wizard himself had the 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

right to determine what was "inimical to the best interests" of 
the Order, a loose construction of "any other offense" would 
allow him wide powers of banishment. It will be remembered 
that the power of the Wizard to remove every official of the 
Order from his office was unrestricted as was his authority to 
suspend or revoke the charters of individual Klans. This right 
of banishment extended his power to include every member of 
organization. It was used freely to check internal opposition in 
Pennsylvania and was for that reason fiercely resented by many 
as an instrument of tyranny.* 

Within the Order itself were several subsidiary organizations. 
There was a group of Knights Kamellia, a second degree into 
which a considerable number of Klansmen were initiated. A 
higher Order was called Knights of the Great Forest but com- 
paratively few qualified for it.** The regalia which these more 
distinguished Knights could wear was finer than the white muslin 
worn by those still in the probationary order of citizenship but 
the donation required to secure it was correspondingly higher. 
In isolated instances the Knights Kamellia maintained a complete 
organization of its own and held more or less regular meetings 
but in most Klaverns no separate organization was maintained 
and the degrees meant little more than the experience of par- 
ticipating in its initiatory drama. 

The military order of the Klan called the Pennsylvania State 
Klavaliers, did, however, maintain a separate organization. It 
had its own constitution, laws, oath, officials, uniforms, dues and 
fees. Organized in the summer and autumn of 1924, it offered 
Klansmen, in consideration of a donation of $16.45, monthly 
dues of not less than twenty-five cents and an oath of strict 
allegiance to Hiram W. Evans,^* the privilege of wearing a white 
military uniform and black leather puttees,^' of being police offi- 
cers at all outside-of-Klavern meetings such as parades, natural- 
izations, demonstrations and funerals, and of obeying the orders 
of their superior officers.^* The duties of the Klavaliers which 

*See Page 188. 

**In February 1928, Imperial Wizard Evans gave orders that the mask should no 
longer be worn and that every Klansman should become a Knight of the Great Forest. 
This was a time when there was danger that the Order might be legally prosecuted for 
lawlessness both in Pennsylvania and in Alabama in which event the leaders wished to 
be prepared to abandon the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, while keeping the organization 
under the name of Knights of the Great Forest. 


The Organization of the Klan 

were specifically mentioned in their constitution included keeping 
Trder responsibility for securing all necessary permits for pa- 
rld ' meetings and the like, and seeing that the robe of each 
klan^ml waJ clean and that no concealed weapons were earned. 
The a" ests of Klansmen at the Lilly and Bristol nots doubtless 
lilted the inclusion of this last provision,^ an .em hat re- 
ceived much emphasis in the succeeding General Ord r . 

The Grand Dragon was ex-officio Commander-in-Chief of the 
Klavaliers in his Realm. He appointed a staf¥ of two, a General 
fnd a Major General, to command all the units n. the state^ 
Each unit might elect officers analogous to t^^ Klavern^ office^ 
although the constitution assigned no duties to them^ Th fi^^^^^ 
"General Order" signed by the Commander-m-Chief * -^^^^^^e^ 
the Exalted Cyclops to appoint a Klavalier captain who m turn 
houM select tin for the unit and these elevei. together 
instructed to "select twenty per cent of the membership men m 
high standing and of military age," for their Klavahe urut 
Moreover, this centralization of authority was emphasized by he 
Constitution of the Klavaliers which clearly stated that the 
Government of this Order shall be vested Pn^anly in the m- 
perial Wizard, and the Grand Dragon, as Commander-m-Ch ef , 
who shall be supreme." The will of these men, it further stated^ 
1st be "unquestionably recognized and respected by each and 

''?L^molf 'remarkable phase of this control from the top is 
authorized bv Article VI of the Klavalier Constitution. After 
declaring every article bearing an emblem or an insignia o the 
Klavalie^rs to L the property of the Realm orgamzation^ tee 
appears this provision: "All moneys of the Klavalier Organ i- 
Stion in the possession of any officers or ^^^'^l;^^^^^^^^ 
automatically become the actual moneys of the Staff Trea u y 
of the Organization and same must be freely and promptly turned 
ver on demand." A supplementary section makes th>s provision 
applicable also in case of "the disbandment of a K^^f .^"^^^ 
Juite evidently the properties and funds of a local Klavaher um 
were at its own disposal only on the sufferance of the Realm 

-7^. Gilden signed this order --n^j-^^Pr^iLspon^denc'^^s^^^^^ 
office was held by the Grand I^^S^^-T-h^/'ifSer instance proving that many of the 
K;:^T'the^Sr^v|[f selected f ,?n;%he ™Uon walks of life, rather than from 
the professional or upper classes. 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

Staff. It is clear, too, that if the Staff found itself financially 
in arrears, the way was constitutionally open for it to send out 
"accredited officers" to make collections. 

Corresponding somewhat in terminology with the military 
branch of the Klan but not actually organized by it was the so- 
called "military line of communication." Much stress was placed 
upon its development by representatives from Imperial head- 
quarters whose goal it was to perfect an organization capable 
of carrying notices and secret orders to every Klansman in the 
United States within forty-eight hours after their issuance at 
Atlanta.*^ Where this was actually set up each Exalted Cyclops 
divided up his Klanton into neighborhoods, usually on precinct, 
ward or township lines. The resident Klansman in each of these 
neighborhoods made up a neighborhood committee over which 
a chairman, called a corporal, had charge. In larger Klantons 
there were groups of committee corporals under the chairman- 
ship of sergeants. Thus the Imperial Wizard's military line of 
communication spread fan-shaped from his office to the Grand 
Dragons and from them in turn to the Great Titans, the Exalted 
Cyclops, the sergeants, the neighborhood corporals until every 
Klansman was reached. It was the boast of the national head- 
quarters in 1924 that already there were several Realms in which 
the military communications system was perfected to forty-eight 
hour efficiency. Pennsylvania, however, was not listed among 
these nor did this system receive attention in many parts of 
the state. 

In addition to the transfer of instructions from national head- - 
quarters to the individual Klansmen, it was also the purpose of 
the military communications organization to gather and send in- 
formation in the opposite direction. Each community committee 
was under instructions to survey its area, know every man within 
it, especially those who were bootleggers or engaged in other 
illegal practices, know the attitudes of each on the leading ques- 
tions of the day and all other information pertinent to the life 
of the neighborhood. The higher officials, by getting this infor- 
mation would, it was thought, be better able to direct the activities 
of the Order and form its policies. The neighborhood commit- ■ 
tees served also as fact gathering bodies for the Civic, the Public 

The Organization of the Klan 79 

Schools, the Governmental and the Law Support committees of 

their local klans. , , 

In directing the flow of information from the bottom of the 
Order topward this communications set-up proved less etticient 
than in relaying orders from the top downward. Very few klans 
had trained investigators among their membership and the 
snoopers who tried to mimic secret service agents m most cases 
became mere gossip mongers. When an Exalted Cyclops w.^.ed 
to make an investigation for himself or check on reports from 
these neighborhood committees, he generally used a special in- 
telligence Committee"-a few trusted men who acted secretly as 

'^Trerwlrpart of the Organization m which the officials 
from Atlanta and from the Realm office took more -terest than 
in the finances. After Colonel Simmons had placed E. \ . Clarke 
in charge of promotional activities the revenues had increased to 
an amazing degree and became a tempting prize. Indeed as we 
have seen, the first major struggle withm the Order was an 
effort to break the control of Simmons and Clarke over this 
income. This had been done. Clarke was driven out and Sim- 
mons was pensioned for a short time on a monthly salary and 
finally withdrew altogether from the organization, leaving H. W. 
Evans and his henchmen to distribute the "gravy. 

The national, the Realm, and the local divisions of the Order 
shared the income. The national office received money from four 
principal sources. The first was a percentage of the ten dollar 
"donations" which "aliens" made at the time they applied for 
citizenship. For some time half of each donation was forwarded 
to the imperial treasury. This amount was subsequently reduced 
to four dollars, somewhat later to $3.75 and, toward the end o 
1924 to $2.50. In addition to this, the national office received 
a profit from the sale of robes which cost the Order less than 
$2 00 each to produce and which were sold to Klansmen for $5X)0 
each At first no Klansman was obligated to secure a robe but 
a good proportion of them did so. Later the price m Pennsyl- 
vania was raised to $6.50. No reason was given for this in- 
crease nor was the quality of the garments supplied improved. 
Some Klansmen conjectured that the increase was due to the 
fact that the national organization had just acquired a new robe 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

factory and was rapidly paying for it. Others thought that the 
price had been raised by the Realm officials as a means of add- 
ing to their income. As a result of this increase, however, the 
number of robes purchased by initiates decreased. This led to 
the adoption of a new policy which guaranteed an income from 
this source for the future. The price was again reduced to five 
dollars but it was added to the "donation" — now raised to $15.00 
— which every new member was required to make. 

A third source of income was the imperial tax which the 
national organization collected from all chartered klans. It 
amounted to $1.80 per year per member. For Pennsylvania, the 
imperial tax turned over to national headquarters from the time 
the first klan was chartered to October 1, 1925, totaled $94,- 
653.90.'*- This represented a period of about fifteen months 
since most of the klans involved had received their charters 
after July 1, 1924. Although later records are not now available 
it is safe to say that the imperial tax from Pennsylvania did not 
decline for at least another year. After 1926 the total member- 
ship of the Order declined so rapidly within the state* that, 
in spite of the continued chartering of local klans, there must have 
been a substantial drop in the revenue collected on a per capita 

A fourth source of revenue which the national organization 
enjoyed was the income from its investments. It is impossible 
even to estimate this. The Klan did not own much tangible 
property. Indeed, of the real estate which Colonel Simmons l 
had acquired, on a part of which he had hoped to erect a great 
Klan university, little was kept except the enlarged dwelling called 
the "Imperial Palace" and the Brown office building, both in 
Atlanta. The fact that real property was more easily assessible 
for damages at law was doubtless one of the determining factors 
in the investment policy of the national officials. 

Turning from the imperial revenues to those of the Realm, the 
sources were practically the same. The Realm received a part 
of the initial "donations," which sum was increased by the in- 
come from petitions for higher degrees in the Order. There . 
was a Realm tax collected from Klansmen in chartered klans 

*See Page 162. 

The Organization of the Klan 81 

and at times the national office cut back to the Realm office fifty 
percent of the imperial tax. 

Of each ten dollar donation, the amount retamed by the Realm 
was first fixed by imperial decree at one dollar. When money 
began pouring into Atlanta, the imperial office grew more gen- 
erous toward the Realm and increased the amount allowed the 
latter to two dollars. Later, in 1924, this amount was further 
increased to $2.25. The Realm also received a commission of 
fifty cents on each robe ordered by Pennsylvania Klansmen. 

The Realm tax, levied upon all members of chartered klans, 
was voted by the state Klorero. A minimum below which this 
tax could not be reduced, namely, eight and one-third cents per 
month, was fixed by the Constitution of the Order." From the 
viewpoint of the Realm officials this constitutional provision was 
very wise for the Kloreros never voted more than this minimum. 
By 1925 this tax had become the largest single source of revenue 
for the Realm. This tax and the cut back of imperial tax ac- 
counted for more than ninety percent of its reported receipts." 
A financial statement « covering a five months period m 1926 
showed another source of income which was growing in impor- 
tance, namely, the revenue from petitions for the degree of 
K-Duo or Knights Kamellia. During the period reported, it 
exceeded the income from robes and helmets by eighty percent. 

Since no official membership records prior to 1926 are now 
available, it is impossible to calculate the probable income of the 
Realm with assurance or check the accuracy of the few financial 
statements which were released by the Realm authorities. The 
audit for the fiscal year of October 1924 to October 1925 showed 
a total income of only $44,516.47. This is undoubtedly an under- 
statement. Certainly "the naturalization of aliens" had by no 
means ceased during this period but no mention is made in this 
report of the income from donations. The income from robes 
was set down as $1,502.00. If the Realm received fifty cents 
commission per robe, such a sum would represent 3,004 members 
purchasing robes. If any of these were new members, as most 
of them doubtless were, an income from the donations which 
they paid should have appeared in the audit. 

The way in which this money was spent by the Realm office 
was shown by the audit to be as follows : 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

Oct. 1924 to Oct. 1925 

Salaries $19,438.13 

Salary Expense 2,802.39 

Office Expense 5,201.76 

K-Duo Salaries 3,220.00 

K-Duo Expense 2,164.17 

Speaking 2,182.44 

Legal 1,323.30 

Washington Parade 368.75 

Harrisburg Parade 502.00 

Conneaut Deficit 1,483.40 

Investigations 965.28 

General Expense 439.85 

Refunds Z2>Z.79 

TOTAL $40,425.26 

The local organizations, unlike that of the Realm, received no 
financial aid from the higher administrative divisions of the Klan. 
They were obliged to levy their own dues which varied from six 
to ten dollars annually per member, and to pass the hat when 
funds were low or special activities were undertaken. Many klans 
experienced considerable difficulty in collecting dues and taxes 
which were payable quarterly in advance. The only members 
exempt from this taxation were ministers and a few individuals 
who had been members of the Klan of Reconstruction days. For 
a member to be in arrears for one quarter automatically suspended 
him and took away his privilege of attending any Klan meetings. 
To be re-instated such a member must pay up all his back taxes. 
The national headquarters were especially urgent that this rule 
be kept and compelled each klan to turn in an elaborate quarterly 

In the larger klans sufficient dues had to be collected to pay 
for the rental of a hall, the maintenance of the equipment neces- 
sary for the performance of the ritual, the secretary's salary and 
supplies, the traveling expenses of the Exalted Cyclops or other 
representatives to the frequent Realm and Provincial meetings, 
the construction of crosses, the purchase of dynamite and the many 
other expenses incidental to their activities. Nevertheless, the 
local dues assessed upon members were usually the smallest item 

The Organization of the Klan 83 

of expense for the Klansman who travelled for miles to attend 
numerous demonstrations and parades, who gave his money for 
riot victims and lawyers' fees, for the children's home and for 
local charities, who purchased subscriptions to The Kourier Maga^ 
zine and The Fellowship Forum and bought klan jewelry or 
stock in some klan sponsored business venture. 

Local klans were often hard pressed to find supplementary 
ways to increase their own available funds. One of these was 
to charge admission to the grounds when out-of-doors demon- 
strations or initiations were held. A twenty-five cent or fifty 
cent fee multiplied a thousand or more times was helpful even 
if some of it did remain in the pockets of the guards and gate- 
keepers. It was likewise discovered that pin money could be 
made for the organization by the sale of refreshments, or more 
easily, by the sale of concessions for hot dog and ice cream 
stands, and booths for the sale of little American flags and pa- 
triotic emblems. Of course, if the weather proved inclement and 
the crowd disappointing, an anticipated profit was sometimes 
turned into considerable loss. 

In Philadelphia, excursions on the river were often profitable. 
This was true especially when the members of the Women's 
Organization were asked to participate. Here also, the Yellow 
Dog degree was conferred, as it was in other places, sometimes 
as a scheme to bring profit to some Klan leader willing to cap- 
italize the curiosity of the unsuspecting, sometimes to bring 
needed funds into the treasury of the Klavern. The initiation 
required for this degree included a good deal of vulgarity which 
most of the initiates enjoyed but which proved distasteful to a 
few who, having been asked to share the fun, paid their fifty 
cents or dollar and became unwilling actors in rather low comedy. 

Some estimate of the amount of money which was taken out 
of the communities where klans existed can be made from the 
following letter: 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

Scottdale, Pennsylvania 

Mr. Van A. Barrickman, 
Pittsburgh, Pa. 

Dear Sir, 

Enclosed find report of money sent to the State and Na- 
tional offices of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan by 
Scottdale Klan No. 37. I can be qualified to this amount 
as I have receipts and papers to show for same. There is 
more but I can not get it as J. A. Kelley our former Kli- 
grapp has the records and has gone along with Shaw and 

379 members when charter was received 
4 of these ministers (no charge) 

375 members @ $10.00 Klectoken $3,750.00 

119 members @ $5.00 (other $5.00 retained by 

. No. 37) 595.00 

Paid for robes 1,480.00 

Imperial Taxes for May and June 1924 'l06.50 

Imperial Taxes for July 1924 to July 1925 875.45 

State Taxes January 1925 to July 1925 ... 204.43 

Imperial Taxes from July 1925 to July 1926 618.90 

State Taxes from July 1925 to July 1926 . . 339.66 

Imperial Taxes from July 1926 to July 1927 467.45 

State Taxes from July 1926 to July 1927 . . 256.92 

Lilly Fund 186.50 

TOTAL $8,880.81 

There is more of the Lilly Fund, Abbott Fund, Pittsburgh 
Dispatch and others of which I cannot get the records. 

Very truly yours, 
(Signed) James A. Miller, Acting E. C. 
Scottdale Klan No. 37 

Attest : — 

(Signed) Ira B. Ritenour, Kligrapp, 
Scottdale Klan No. 37 

This brief account of the organization of the Klan reveals a 
highly centralized, far from democratic Order to whose little 
known higher officials Pennsylvania Klansmen gave liberally of 
personal loyalty and of financial support. Prior to 1930 the 
money paid by Pennsylvania Klansmen in fees and taxes to sup- 
port their local, state and national organizations was at least 

The Organization of the Klan 


$5 000,000.00 and certainly their activities involved additional in- 
direct expenditures of considerably more than that sum. Perhaps 
the enjoyment, the excitement, the general psychological benefit 
derived by members was worth the money. Totalling up the 
objective results in community betterment and balancing them 
against the financial expenditures made by the Klansmen, one 
is inclined to say that the cost was high. 


cilium, meeting of May 1 and 2, 1923, P- 13- 

2. Article 6, Section 3. 

3. Article 6, Section 2. 

4. Article 16, Section 2. 

5. Article 18, Section 10. 

6. Article 5 

7. Article 7, Sections 2, 6. 

8. Article 1, Section 2. 

9. Article 10, Section 5. 

10. Article 10, Section 10. 

11. Article 10, Section 9. 

12. Article 6, Section 1. 

13. Article 6, Section 3- 

14. Article 10, Section 3. 

15. Article 10, Section 6. 

16. Article 10, Section 3. 

17. Article 10, Section 2. 

18. Article 10, Section 12. 

19. Article 10, Section 1. 

20. Article 9, Section 2. 

21. Article 9, Section 1. 

22. Article 16, Section 2. 

23. Article 18, Section 17. 

24 Article 16, Section 2. . 

25. ' Estimate of H. K. Ramsey, Imperial Kligrapp. 

26. Article H, Section 6. ..ifi.,„ie', Pledae of Loyalty" submitted by Harry A. 
!i:{^J!rd \7\ llea'gle ^IftVuired fo execute^ i? and who testified to its 

^9 Kfansmln-UckUn/of the Imperial Klazik's office as reported in the mimeographed 
minutes of the State Klorero, Dec. 6, 1924, p. 6. 

30. Article 20, Section 2. 

31. Article 20, Section 18. 

II ^;'nsdtut?on':nd°law; of the Klavaliers of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan of the 

State of Pennsylvania. Article 3, Section 2- 
34 Enlistment Paper, Pennsylvania Klavaliers (official). 
35'. Klavalier Constitution, Article 1, Section 5. 

36. Ibid. Article 6, Section 3, Supplement B. 

37. Ibid. Article 2. 

38. General Order No. 1, October 31, 1924. 

39 Klavalier Constitution, Article 1, Sectiori i. 

40 Ibid. Article 6, Sections 2 3 and supplement, paragraph a 

41 For example, see the address of Klansman O. H. Curry, Minutes 

43. l??nS o^X^l^l^htsJ^ thV iu ^^^Z to September 

frr9'^5\^"sigrd'by ^'j>be^"feunT'"/ud^o^,^rd^?m't: Aich\%mperial\epre. 
45. Signed'by H. K. Ramsey, Trustee, and covering a period from February 16 to June 

30, 1926. 

The Klan and Klansmen : Fraternalism 

"I swear that I will be faithful in defending and 
protecting the home, reputation and physical and 
business interests of a Klansman and that of a 
Klansman's family. I swear that I will at any time 
without hesitating go to the assistance or rescue of 
a Klansman in all things honorable." From Section 
IV of the Oath of Allegiance. 

"W e appreciate the intrinsic value of a real practical 
fraternal relationship among men of kindred thought, 
purpose and ideals and the infinite benefits accruable 
therefrom, and we shall faithfully devote ourselves 
to the practice of an honorable Clanishness that the 
life and living of each may be a constant blessing to 
others." —From the Ku Klux Klan Kreed. 

Fraternalism was a principle which was emphasized again and 
again in the literature of the Order. While many members of 
other fraternal societies enlarged their social contacts by joining 
the Klan, it is more significant that considerable numbers of 
men found in the Klan their one fraternal home. It was their 
lodge and their service club. They attended its meetings, ex- 
changed with other Klansmen the mystical SOG, and discussed 
the status of the nation and the morals of their community. It 
enabled them, when visiting some other town, to give the secret 
sign and when recognized, enter into fraternal conversation with 
persons who ceased to be strangers because, like themselves, they 
held citizenship in the Invisible Empire. It enhanced their sense 
of power. Dignified both by numbers and by what were felt 
to be defensible aims and high ideals, furnished by its founder 
with a high-sounding ritual and suitable regalia, and equipped 
with secret countersigns, handclasps and pass-words, the Klan 
became a common man's club. That it brought relief from the 
dull monotony of routine existence for the residents of many 
a spiritless community cannot be successfully controverted. 

The Klan and Klansmen 


A substantial expression was given to the fraternal spirit by 
the social and recreational activities of the Order. The regular 
meetings were not without recreational value. There was dra- 
matic activity in donning their robes and participating m the 
opening ritual. There was purpose in creating a commendable 
degree-team and pride in listening to it and having it ca led to 
perform initiatory rites in other Klaverns. There was the ex- 
hilarating by-play that characterizes a group of men m their 
moments of relaxation. 

Moreover, basket picnics, spelling bees, debates, boat trips and 
various social gatherings to many of which the Women of the 
Ku Klux Klan were cordially invited served as a welcome 
diversion and consequently were frequently planned. Klaverns 
in the "Pennsylvania Dutch" sections of the state reported numer- 
ous enjoyable sauerkraut dinners and goat roasts which became 
occasions not only for speeches from Provincial and Realm of- 
ficers but also for sleight of hand performances and for the best 
joke tellers of the Klaverns to tell their tales. The frequent 
"demonstrations" were simply glorified picnics with visitors ga- 
lore, speakers, stunts, parades and refreshments. 

The summer months were filled with these.^ The records for 
1927 are most complete in this regard and while the Klan was 
by no means as strong then as earlier nor its demonstrations as 
numerous, there were held on July 23d six such affairs.* On 
August 6th three were held concurrently at Lewistown, at Mid- 
deltown, and at Reading. On August 20th five others were 
held.** Some of the demonstrations lasted for three consecutive 
days and Klansmen from neighboring Klaverns usually turned 
out en mass to help celebrate. 

The Realm office gave these picnics publicly in the circular 
letters which were periodically sent to local Klaverns. Exalted 
Cyclops were expected to urge Klansmen to attend. The larger 
and the more enthusiastic the gathering, the more it would build 
morale, the bigger would be the profits from refreshment booths 
or from the sale of concessions and the more successful it would 
be from the standpoint of publicity. 

*Held at Peabrook, Indiana. Portage, Hustontown. Lykens and Pitcairn. 
* 'At Benezett, Irwin, Wyalusing, Kingston and Red Lion. 

88 The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

Waynesboro Klan advertised one such occasion as a three day 
"field meet" with a "great regalia parade," a "mammoth fireworks 
display and sports of all kinds." Admission was 25 cents. On 
September 3, 1927 the Carnegie Klan charged 50 cents admission 
to a great demonstration with "fireworks, band concerts, singing 
and sports." The following is a typical program of one of the 
less elaborate affairs:^ 

2 P. M. 

Song : America 


Flag Raising 

Star Spangled Banner 

Address: George Strayer, Dayton, Ohio 

Solo: P. S. Wight 

Address: A. B. Taylor, Greensburg, Pa. 

4 P. M. Band Concert 

5 P. M. Aeroplane v, 
Klavalier Drills 

7 P. M. Parade 

8:30 P. M. Aeroplane 

Address: Rev. J. F. Strayer, Latrobe, Pa. 

Male Quartet 

Address: Rev. Toba, Dallas, Texas 
Male Quartet 
9 :30 Naturalization 
10:30 Fireworks 

While the fraternal relationship which developed among Klans- 
men as a result of this recreational activity was valuable, it in- 
volved no appreciable sacrifice by Klansmen for each other. Did 
fraternalism reach deeper and find expression in charitable ac- 
tivity? The evidence points to an affirmative answer. Indeed, 
if proof is needed that idealism and desire for service were im- 
portant elements in the early history of the movement, one need 
only review the generosity of the local Klaverns in their charities. 
In the first place, they gave generously to their Order with no 
strings attached. There were no questions asked at first about 
the use to which either their original ten dollar donation or their 
quarterly national and realm taxes were put. For at least four 
years, i. e. from 1921 to 1925, there did not develop sufficient 
demand for the accounting of Realm funds to cause the Realm 
office to issue a regular statement of receipts and expenditures. 

The Klan and Klansmen 


That these monies were chiefly used for the expenses of propa- 
gation and not for charities in spite of the emphasis which the 
Order put on "klanishness" was generally understood by the 
members. But no objection was made. 

Local Klaverns were, therefore, chiefly responsible for all 
donations which were made to needy Klansmen and for other 
benevolences. While the amount of contributions for charitable 
purposes was no doubt large, especially during the early period 
of enthusiasm, there was little done in an organized or planned 
way. There was not a single instance reported to the writer, 
with the exception of the Klan Haven project, where an organ- 
ized budget covering definitely predicted needs was drawn up. 
On the contrary, the giving was haphazard and generally made 
to meet immediate requirements. As a consequence it was largely 
fortuitous whether adequate provision was made or not. It 
depended upon the closeness to payday, upon whether or not other 
collections had recently been taken, upon the eft'ectiveness of the 
appeal, the popularity of the beneficiary and many other cir- 
cumstances. Exalted Cyclops, who have reviewed this phase of 
the activity of their Klaverns with the writer, have been frank 
to admit that there was Uttle fairness in the way charities had 
been distributed. Often the relatively less needy person would 
receive more than the individual whose need was great. Klans- 
men usually gave without knowing what others of their number 
were contributing. 

Naturally, the Order tried first to help its own members who 
were considered as possessing a first Hen upon the benevolence 
of their fellow Klansmen. A regular item on the agenda of 
each business session of a local Klonclave was the question asked 
by the Exalted Cyclops : "Does any Klansman know of a Klans- 
man or a Klansman's family who is in need of financial or 
fraternal assistance?"" Klan charities did not, however, end with 
aid given to Klansmen. Baskets at Thanksgiving time were dis- 
tributed to the needy of the community by many local Klaverns. 
Another type of benevolence is illustrated by the Scottdale Klan 
which paid the hospital expenses of a child who had been crippled 
from infancy. There were instances not a few of Klaverns 
which paid back rent of deserving individuals to prevent eviction 
and which met the interest on mortgages to prevent foreclosure. 

The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

It is impossible to estimate quantitatively the amount of this 
charity for in many instances no record of collections and hat- 
passings was kept. Some Kligrapps (Secretaries) justified this 
un-business-like procedure on the ground that it was desirable 
to keep donations as secret as possible. If no record was kept, 
there would be less possibility that at some future time the 
recipient of the gifts would be reminded that he had been an 
object of charity. Often the collection was simply turned over 
to a committee with no announcement of the amount collected 
or accounting from the committee except the report that the col- 
lection had been "delivered to the beneficiary as directed." 

The obvious looseness of these methods and the abuses which 
grew out of them led to a recommendation by the State office 
that regular standing committees be appointed and that the whole 
matter of charities be put on a sounder basis. Most of the 
Klaverns followed the advice and three committees were named 
which dealt respectively with welfare, sickness, and funerals or 
"lodges of sorrow." The Welfare Committee undoubtedly had 
the most responsibility and its members were appointed by the 
E. C. presumably "after consultation with the Kludd (chaplain)." 
To it were assigned the following duties: 

(a) To administer all charity funds of the Klan, includ- 
ing the tithe of net local dues that should be set aside for 
charity and all freewill offerings for that purpose. 

(b) To investigate all cases of need reported, determine 
their worthiness and dispense funds as the case may demand 
and the money available may permit. 

(c) In case other assistance than funds is needed to 
report the circumstances to the Klan, requesting such aid 
from fellow Klansmen. 

(d) To assist Klansmen in need of advice or other aid 
during any misfortune. 

(e) To report in writing at every meeting. The financial 
items in this report shall become a part of the minutes.* 

The dissatisfaction arising among Klansmen because of too fre- 
quent appeals for free-will offerings at the Klavern meetings was 
noted and included with the above recommendations was the ad- 
vice that "no such appeal is to be permitted until it has been 
approved by the Welfare Committee." 

The Klan and Klansmen 91 

The Sick Committee had the usual duties of visitation and 
responsibility for all floral oflEerings. If they found circumstances 
that called for charity, they were instructed to report that fact 
to the Welfare Committee and turn the matter over to it. 

Upon the Committee of Funerals and Lodges of Sorrow was 
placed "responsibility for sympathetic kindness to a bereaved 
family for proper honor to the memory of a departed brother, 
and fo'r conducting the Funerals and Lodges of Sorrow in such 
a manner as to impress upon all the beauty and dignity of Klan- 
craft."=^ It, too, could not administer charity but had to summon 
the Welfare Committee in case of this need. 

Unquestionably this centralization of alms-giving into the hands 
of a single committee which was obliged to investigate requests 
and "report in writing" to the Klavern was a needed reform. It 
was proof that the Order had passed from its first crusading 
phase into its second commercialized phase. The ugly charge 
of misappropriation or misuse of funds had been made and too 
often now the leaders considered their positions not as posts of 
honor which permitted them to render gratuitous service but as 
jobs in which there was the possibility of profit. 

Klan charities, as far as the writer could determine, were made 
to persons rather than institutions. Unlike the Service Clubs, 
Rotary and Kiwanis, local Klans rarely gave to organizations, not 
even to Boy Scouts, Red Cross, Community Chests, City Chanty 
boards, or temperance societies. Even when donations were made 
to the' Protestant churches, as was frequently the case, the gift 
was always presented to a person, usually the pastor. It is obvious 
from a study of the donations which they made, that Klansmen 
generally were unwilling to give unless the person who received 
the gifts knew whence his aid came. To give to another insti- 
tution like the Red Cross, they felt, would only be adding to the 
prestige of that organization since it would control the distribu- 
tion of the bounty. The Klan was not interested in any second 
handed charity. If the boys and girls should be helped, the Klan 
felt it better to establish its own Junior Order than to contribute 
to the Scouts. If charity was needed, the Klan believed it should 
make its own distribution rather than work through or cooperate 
with the Organized Charity boards or Community Chests. If 
Klansmen in their own giving tried to follow the biblical injunc- 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

tion not to let their left hand know what their right hand had 
given, it is far more evident that they tried to make sure that 
the individual recipients and the public in general knew who 
their benefactor was so that due acknowledgment could be given. 

There were two special funds which the Pennsylvania Klan 
raised in behalf of its own people which are significant in an 
evaluation of the charitable activities of the Order. They were 
designated as the Abbott fund and the Lilly fund. As previously 
mentioned (ante p. 52), a riot occurred in the fall of 1923 
at Carnegie when an attempt was made to prevent a parade of 
Klansmen. In the confusion incident to that affair Thomas 
Abbott had been shot and subsequently died, leaving a widow 
and one small child with no funds to provide for them. Clearly 
this was a case when Klansmen were obligated to come to the 
assistance of a Klansman's family. A collection was taken on the 
night of the murder, the exact amount of which was not reported. 
Since the Imperial Wizard was present, the money was turned 
over to his office and was later increased by special offerings. 
Mrs. Abbott did not live long after her husband's death and 
received scant attention from Atlanta. One, Minnie Behling, of 
McDonald, Pa., was given custody of the child, Thomas Abbott, 
Jr., and, according to her testimony, received for a time $30.00 
a month from the National treasurer. But Pennsylvania Klans- 
men were never given an accurate accounting of this fund and 
never knew how much of the money reached the family for 
whom it was given. 

Another riot at Lilly, Pa., had resulted in several deaths, in 
much litigation and a great deal of hardship for the families of 
the Klansmen who served jail sentences as a consequence. Another 
fund was set up, this time by the State office and a committee, 
with H. C. Woods as chairman, was made responsible for it. 
Numerous appeals to local Klansmen over the state brought in, 
by November, 1924, some $34,1 56.« The greatest single disburse- 
ment reported was for litigation. The attorneys received $18,355, 
more than twice as much as was spent for relief of Klansmen 
and their families ($8,999.46). For printing and special stenog- 
raphers the outlay was $3,023.86 while court costs and witness 
fees and costs of investigation totaled nearly $3,000. Sufficient 
irregularities in this matter had occurred to cause considerable 

The Klan and Klansmen 


editing of the minutes of the Klorero before they could safely 
be circulated to the different Klaverns, so the matter is not alto- 
gether clear. Quite evidently, however, the fund was not pri- 
marily a charity to aid distressed Klansmen. The fund was 
raised largely by an appeal for charity but, as the above figures 
show, was used by the State organization to pay for expensive 
litigation in an attempt to clear the name of the Order.* 

The most commendable charitable undertaking for which the 
Order was responsible was the Klan Haven project— a home for 
needy and homeless children. Initiated by the women of the Ku 
Klux Klan, it was supported by both the men's and women's 
organizations and eventually was placed under joint control. 
Speakers were hired to make appeals and to gather money. A 
regular annual Klavern meeting was set apart by the men's 
organization— the meeting immediately preceding Thanksgiving— 
as Klan Haven meeting and contributions taken to meet current 
expenses. Various special methods were used such as the raising 
of a mile of pennies with various Klaverns competing for the 
honor of raising the largest portion of the mile. A regular Klan 
Haven visitation day was established in midsummer when caravans 
from various parts of the state met in Harrisburg, on the grounds 
of the Home. A special program of speakers, of Klavalier drills, 
of games and entertainment added attraction and helped to pub- 
licize the Home. The original stone dwelling was destroyed by 
fire but money was raised to rebuild it. At the peak of its ac- 
tivities, forty-one children, chiefly of Klansmen. were housed and 
provided for at Klan Haven. Some of the children had been 
committed by court order and the State helped with the mainte- 
nance expenses in these instances. Indeed steps were taken to 
secure court orders in as many cases as possible and Mr. Pmchot's 
administration was interested in the home and cooperated to this 

In the minds of many Klansmen the obligation of fraternal 
assistance was interpreted to include commercial patronage of 
business enterprises operated by fellow citizens of the Order. 
Undoubtedly the class loyalty engendered by the Klan led to 

*Some money was withdrawn from the Lilly fund to pay the hospital expenses of cer- 
tain Pennsylvania Klansmen who had been wounded . m the not at Niles Oh o. 
A special collection amounting to Sli:'6.00 was taken m the Klorero for the family 
of L. P. Bailes, Greenville, Pa., who had died as a result of this same not. 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

considerable discrimination against Jewish, Catholic and foreign 
born business men. This benefited the Protestant, Gentile, 
nativist group but only where the mass of people were in the 
latter classification. Retaliatory discrimination by the non- 
nativist group was often used with effect where that group was 
numerous, as the Klansmen in Latrobe and Patton — to mention 
but two instances — found to their sorrow.' 

But the question remained : Should Klansmen buy of Klans- 
men rather than of other native born Protestants? Fear that 
such a result would actually obtain led not a few business men 
to join the Order for security. Jewelers, for instance, who wished 
to sell insignia to Klansmen took pains to join so that they could 
push their sales as brothers. Other Klansmen with their own 
business interests at heart wanted to use the Klavem rolls as 
mailing lists and exploit the value that lay in fraternal appeal. 
Other Klansmen dreamed of companies which would have a 
monopoly on the sale of certain articles to Klansmen. The Gates 
City robe factory enjoyed such a monopoly and made enormous 
profit. The American Printing and Manufacturing Company at 
Atlanta was similarly managed by insiders. In Pennsylvania a 
group of Klan business men in and around Pittsburgh conceived 
the possibilities of putting on the market a specially wrapped 
candy with the Klan insignia prominently stamped on it. It was 
felt that Klan loyalty would build a regular market outside the 
practically guaranteed sales at the Klan demonstrations and picnics 
and make a handsome profit for the promoters. Some $5,000 
worth of stock was sold for the proposed scheme when the de- 
clining fortunes of the Order in Western Pennsylvania turned 
hopes of income into actual loss for the investors. 

In this same connection it is interesting to know that another 
economic possibility of fraternalism did not go unnoticed. A proj- 
ect was initiated by "Judge" James A. Comer, an Imperial 
officer, to organize a National Service Club within the Ku Klux 
Klan. The Club might be joined by any Klansman who for an 
annual service charge — reputed to have been set at $36 — would 
receive national advertising and national cooperation for mutual 
business interests throughout all the Klavems of the Nation.* 
Agents of the Club were appointed in Pennsylvania* and sup- 

The Klan and Klansmen 


plies and information were distributed when unknown but easily 
surmisable circumstances caused the abandonment of the project. 

Similarly motivated was the Empire Mutual Life Insurance 
Company which was chartered under the laws of Missouri and 
acquired by certain Klansmen who saw in the venture a hope 
of profit. Members of other lodges such as the Maccabees and 
the Odd Fellows supported the insurance departments of their 
Orders and the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan might be expected 
to do no less. Moreover, as far as fraternal insurance was con- 
cerned, Klansmen represented a virtually unworked clientele with 
great faith in anything labeled with the Klan name or symbolism 
and a lively zeal to promote the Order. 

This Klan subsidiary began its activities in 1924, duly heralded 
in the columns of the Kourier Magazine: 

"Some facts regarding the Empire Mutual Life Insurance 
Company of Kansas City, Missouri : 

No. 1. This company is an Old Line Legal Reserve Mutual 

Stock Companv. 
No. 2. All of its stock is owned by, and is being held m 

trust for. the National Headquarters of the Knights 

of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc. 
No. 3. This company was unanimously approved by the 

Second Imperial Klonvokation held in Kansas City, 

Missouri, September 23 to 26, inc., 1924. 
No. 4. This company writes none but native born, White, 

Gentile, American citizens." 

While some millions of insurance was written by this Company, 
its activities were largely confined to the states of Missouri, 
Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas.^" There was little 
solicitation made in Pennsylvania until 1927. In that year the 
Imperial Wizard circularized the Klans in its behalf urging the 
members to purchase their protection in a white, Gentfle, Prot- 
estant Corporation. By that date, however, the Klansmen of 
Pennsylvania, remembering the failure of Daily Dispatch Pub- 
lishing Company, the Flowers Product Company and similar 
enterprises, were skeptical of all of the commercial affiliates of 
the Order and considered this just another money grabbing 

The idea that the Klan as a fraternal organization could aid 
its members financially received attention from some of the local 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

branches during the heyday of the Order as well as from the 
State and National officials. The Klan at Irwin is an instance. 
Convinced that their Order was "the biggest thing in America" 
with hundreds of thousands of members in Pennsylvania alone, 
and believing that Klansmen would "stick together," the members 
at Irwin decided to invest in one of the leading hotels in the town. 
They felt that they would have the guaranteed patronage of their 
brother Klansmen, many of whom would stop at Irwin as they 
travelled the Linclon highway or the main line of the Pennsyl- 
vania Railroad. The prospect of profit seemed rosy.^^ 

At Scottdale, the same hope of financial gain led to the pur- 
chase of the Shupe farm adjacent to the borough on the north. 
Part of this farm they expected to turn into a permanent home 
for their Klavern and the remainder, they hoped to sell as lots at 
a substantial profit. Similar projects were undertaken at Indiana 
and at Lancaster. Unfortunately for the Klansmen who invested 
in stock or made donations, these enterprises turned out just as 
badly as had the more spectacular Publishing Company. The 
combination of declining membership and economic depression 
were disastrous. Stoically accepting their losses, the Klansmen 
who remained gave up the economic phases of fraternalism and 
spent their time planning how their local Klan could assist them 
to have a good time on Friday nights. 


1. Practically every issue of "The Kourier Magazine" carried under the heading "Penn- 
sylvania Notes" accounts of such affairs. 

2. Held at Scottdale, Pennsylvania, August 28, 1926. The quotations made in ref- 
ence to the Waynesboro and Carnegie Demonstrations were taken from printed hand- 
bills of these affairs. 

3. Mimeographed "Instructions for Exalted Cyclops: Standard Plans for the Organi- 
zation and Operation of Klans in Pennsylvania, 1925." 

4. Pamphlet F — 102, (American Printing and Manufacturing Company, Atlanta) en- 
titled, "The Klan in Action," p. 14. 

5. Ibid; p. 15. 

6. Mimeographed minutes of the State Klorero, Dec. 7, 1924, p. 20. 

7. In Latrobe the Lutherans suffered more than others because of their alleged support 
of the Klan ; among them Dave Griffith, optometrist and Kate Weiss, milliner. 
In Patton, the boycott was more general on all Protestants, according to the 
Methodist Episcopal minister, W. A. Graham. Although the boycott was rather 
rigidly maintained while it lasted, in the most instances it was rather temporary. 
Few cases were reported after 1926. 

8. Correspondence of Mrs. Mary I. Goodwin to Rev. Strayer (Feb. 1928). 

9. Dan Ensminger of Hershey was one such agent. 

10. Proceedings of the Second Imperial Klonvokation. p. 132 ff. 

11. Told the writer in interview with Irwin Klansmen. 

12. Told the v/riter in interviews with the Exalted Cyclops and Kligrapp of the Scott- 
dale Klavern. 

The Klan and the State: Political Activities 

"People vote their resentment, not their apprecia- 
tion. The average man does not vote for anything, 
hilt against something."— William Bennett Munro 

Political historians have frequently assumed that an organiza- 
tion is important to the extent that it wields political power. 
This point of view has some justification in the fact that most 
organizations which have gained power, whether by virtue of 
numbers of wealth, have used that power to control the processes 
of government in behalf of their own interests. Modern govern- 
ments exercise such vast authority over the life of their respective 
peoples that no institution representing well defined interests can 
afford to neglect the possible benefits which the government might, 
with sufficient pressure, be influenced to bestow. 

Moreover, it is quite possible, under the democratic processes 
extant in America, for small groups, well organized as blocs, to 
wield inordinate power. This is especially true when a general 
issue divides the voting public almost equally between the two 
major political parties. Minority blocs whose special interests are 
paramount to the major issues which split the mass of voters, 
then hold a balance of power and are able to play one party 
against the other for concessions. 

The Klan leaders were not blind to this fact. As one of them 
said: "Everybody knows that politicians nowadays cater to all 
kinds of 'elements' mostly selfish, some corrupt, and some defi- 
nitely anti-American. They cater to the German vote, the Catho- 
lic vote, the Jewish vote, the Italian vote, the boot-leg vote, the 
vice vote, and sometimes even to the violently criminal vote. What 
the Klan intends to do is to make them pay some attention to 
the American vote, the Protestant Christian vote, and the decent, 
God-fearing, law-abiding vote."^ 

98 The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

This "God-fearing, Protestant Christian" group had special in- 
terests of its own. FeeHng that they possessed property rights 
in their country's culture by the laws of heredity, they wanted to 
enforce a kind of entail upon it. This claim was candidly stated 
by the Imperial Wizard himself: 

"We believe that the pioneers who built America bequeathed to 
their own children a priority right to it, the control of it and of 
its future, and that no one on earth can claim any part of its 
inheritance except through our generosity."^ 

Klansmen made no apology for this claim. The legalistic as- 
sumptions current since the breakdown of the feudal system sup- 
ported it. It was as sound certainly as the right of a son, re- 
gardless of competency, to inherit his father's fortune. Mr. 
Evans, moreover, refused to admit the possibility of incompetency 
on the part of the native American inheritors. 

"We believe," he continued, "that the American stock, which 
was bred under highly selective surroundings . . . and should 
not be mongrelized, . . . automatically and instinctively de- 
veloped a kind of civilization which is best suited to its own 
healthy life and growth; and that this cannot be safely changed 
except by ourselves and along the lines of our own character."^ 

This assertion was tantamount to a claim by the nativists 
within America that they did legally and should in practice have 
the right to control and develop the country's civilization. The 
Klan refused to argue about this dogma. Like the Trinity, it 
was accepted on faith and the orthodoxy of anyone's "American- 
ism" was denied if he questioned it. The Klan made no pretense 
of serving any group which did not accept this as "an instinctive 
belief" and staked its success upon the theory that it was the 
conviction of "the great mass of Americans of the old stock." 

Now the right to direct the country's civilization necessarily 
included the control of its political processes. The Klan's poHtical 
slogan, "Put none but Americans on guard" merely expressed a 
logical corollary of its article of faith. 

While the number of the local Klaverns was still small and the 
energies of the leaders were needed to increase membership, little 
attention was given to a political program. There were more 
exciting and spectacular ways to act. Besides, there was little 
chance of poHtical success when only a small number of men 

The Klan and the State 


belonged to the Order and when success in its undertakings 
was essential for its growth, indeed, for its very existence. But, 
as the membership grew, political activity rapidly increased. Some 
items of the Klan platform, viz, "just laws," "the limkation of 
immigration," and "the separation of Church and State," were ad- 
mittedly political in nature and inevitably brought the Order into 

Always the Klan worked within the established party organiza- 
tions. The political success of the A.P.A. had shown the ad- 
vantage of such procedure compared with the establishment of 
a separate nativist party like the "American Party" of the 1840's 
and 1850's. The fact that Pennsylvania was a strong Republican 
state did, however, make the Klan pay particular attention to the 
selection of candidates on Republican tickets, especially in the even 
years when national officials were elected and straight party vot- 
ing was prevalent. In the alternate years when local officials 
were selected, the Klan tried to see that the "right" persons were 
nominated on the tickets of both parties. 

Klan officials protested against assertions that they "controlled" 
the votes of Klansmen. "Information" and "advice" was admit- 
tedly given but when the Klansman entered his voting booth "his 
only compulsion was his conscience." This was, no doubt, 
theoretically true. When one considers, however, that the average 
Klansman had little opportunity to hear contrasting points of 
view or inclination to weigh opposing arguments, those who ad- 
vised also controlled many of their votes. 

The information usually given out was limited at first to such 
items as the candidate's religious affiliation, his place of birth, and 
the secret orders to which he belonged. Such information, 
although secretly given and hence more easily falsified without 
detection, was accurately reported in every instance which the 
writer checked. If the candidate was a member of the Knights 
of Columbus or had affiliations with the B'Nai B'Rith he was 
automatically eliminated. On the other hand, if the candidate for 
office was a member of the Masonic fraternity or of a patriotic 
order such as the Junior Order of American Mechanics or the 
Patriotic Order of the Sons of America, his prestige was in- 

100 The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

When the choice lay between the members of the Knights of 
Columbus and the Patriotic Order Sons of America, it was of 
course easily made. Often, however, the selection had to be made 
from candidates all of whom qualified on general grounds. In 
such a case the Klan tried to secure the election of the individual 
most favorable to the Order. Klan leaders were, nevertheless, 
loath to endorse such a person unless he had a good chance of 
winning. If a candidate who had received Klan endorsement 
was defeated, it meant the loss of prestige for the Order and 
Klan officials often preferred to make no recommendation or to 
recommend all the candidates unless it could be determined in 
advance that one of the candidates was almost certain to win. 
Klan caution in this regard was noticeable in connection with the 
Prohibition issue. Although its principles pledged Klansmen to 
support "law enforcement," in communities where anti-prohibition 
sentiment was strong, the Klan avoided open endorsement of 
"prohibition candidates" likely to be defeated. 

The Order, itself, tried not to become an issue for obvious 
reasons. When it was an issue, all the opposition groups — Jews, 
Negroes, Catholics, foreigners — united to defeat it. Only if these 
groups were divided among themselves on other issues could a 
Klan minority, voting secretly as a bloc, attain its nativist ob- 

Klansmen themselves were frequently candidates for office and 
as such claimed the support of the other members since their 
obligation "to go to the assistance" of a Klansman in any way "at 
his call" was susceptible of broad interpretation even if the quali- 
fying phrase "in things honorable" was remembered. Certainly 
there was no doubt about the "call." Klansmen travelled about 
from Klavern to Klavern in behalf of their own candidacies. In 
some cases they sent out their friends to speak in their behalf. 
As one Exalted Cyclops confessed, "It got terrible around election 
time . . . We had to stop one person who travelled around in 
behalf of Dr. Hunter of Monessen. We had to tell Dr. Hunter 
to speak for himself. This other fellow was terrible."* 

Some difficulty was encountered when more than one ambitious 
Klansm; 11 decided to run for the same office. In Texas, the 
first state where the Klan was politically strong, a method of 
solving this problem was evolved which was also widely adopted 

The Klan and the State 


in Indiana. This method involved the holding of elections within 
the Klaverns prior to the regular party primaries. Klansmen then 
chose by secret ballot the one candidate to whom the^ entire 
strength of the Klan vote was subsequently given. This kept 
the Klan vote in a solid block and usually assured the victory of 
a Klansman for the office. Wide use of this procedure was not 
made in Pennsylvania— one reason, perhaps, why the Klan was 
politically less effective here than in either Texas or Indiana. 

The secrecy of Klan action made possible the growth of its 
political prestige. The Klan gained a reputation in scattered areas 
of the state and especially in some of the western counties for 
being a potent political force controlling local elections. In some 
instances this was true ; in others it was fictitious but the general 
public, not knowing the secret endorsements or last minute 
changes in recommendations which the Klan might have made, 
could not gainsay the claims of political victory which the leaders 
regularly made after every election. 

Another factor increasing the political strength of the Klan 
was the fact that its secrecy made it an incalculable factor in the 
political equation to the great dismay of the political bosses. 
Since its membership was secret, its voting strength was unknown 
and often exaggerated. Local bosses were sometimes frightened 
into concessions which they would not have made if they had 
known all the facts. The prestige of the political boss also de- 
pended upon victory for his party. Bosses, therefore, exercised 
care to see that the victors at the party primaries had a good 
chance of attracting the floating vote and of bringing victory to 
the party in the elections. They were often inhibited from sup- 
porting candidates of their own choice if Klan opposition to them 
was anticipated. Where the Klan was strong the bosses fre- 
quently endorsed Klan candidates, giving them the support of the 
party machinery just as the Klan in building up its prestige, often 
endorsed the party candidates who were sure to win anyway. 
The more astute bosses did not endure this inconvenience for long. 
They simply encouraged some of their own henchmen to join 
the local Klaverns, and full information in regard to the Klan's 
political activities was quickly furnished them. 

The Klan not only "advised" its own members but tried also 
to swing elections by circulating cards upon which were printed 

102 The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

the names of candidates endorsed by the local Klavern. The 
earliest instance of this which had come to the notice of the writer 
was during the fall primaries of 1923 in Westmoreland County. 
Heralded as "The People's Choice," and carrying no acknowledg- 
ment of their Klan origin, these cards appeared on doorsteps or 
in mailboxes on the morning of the election, having been stealthily 
placed there during the previous night. This practice was widely 
adopted in the smaller boroughs and villages where there was 
a rather friendly attitude toward the Order. 

There were some districts in which it was found impracticable. 
For instance, the Exalted Cyclops of the Hazelwood Klavern in 
Pittsburgh admitted that his group engaged in very little political 

"It would have been impossible to do much more than 
influence ward politics so we didn't try. The city was so 
large that nothing could be done about city politics by our 
group. Everyone had his own friends and it would have 
been useless. I remember advising a friend of mine who 
was running for office to make his contribution to the 
Catholic Church. That was the wise thing to do anyway in 
this ward. But it got out that he was a Klansman and he 

Most Klaverns, however, found in local political activities the 
most successful expression of their power. 

When the inquiry turned toward the end to which the Klan 
used its political strength, the answer was disappointing. The 
Klan goal was generally a negative one. Seldom was a construc- 
tive program of community improvement set up by the Klan to- 
ward the attainment of which interested persons from all groups 
in the community were requested to cooperate. Programs, when 
they existed at all, were secondary to personal considerations. A 
man's religious affiliation or place of birth were centers about 
which political support or hostility revolved. 

Religion and birth were, of course, easy to determine — criteria 
well suited to the common American with little intellectual acumen 
outside the narrow requirements of his occupation. It required 
neither power of analysis nor fineness of judgment to determine 
a man's religion or his place of birth. It required both to create 
and defend a constructive program. But when such Klan criteria 

The Klan and the State 


for political action were criticized as naive and juvenile, Klan 
leaders protested. Much more was inferred, they said, than just 
the simple statement that a candidate was a foreigner or a 

The accident of foreign birth was held to denote an unalterable 
deficiency in the ability of an individual to really understand and 
truly appreciate American ideals and principles. Since he had 
been raised in a different culture, Klansmen held it to be im- 
possible for a foreigner to completely lose his old habits and 
values. Of course, if he had come to this country in infancy 
and had gone through the American public schools, there was 
some hope for him; but any such were negligible in number. 
Of the great mass of foreigners, Klansmen believed, in the 
language of their highest official that, 

"It is foolish to expect, and it has been proved wrong by 
experience to hope that people of alien education and different 
ideals, which are bred into them both by inheritance and their 
entire' training can within a few years understand America, 
the American Spirit or the American ideals."'' 

Taken at its face value there was little to be criticized in this 
attitude. The fallacy lay in the fact that the stereotyped notion 
of foreigners held by most Klansmen made them accept a state- 
ment Hke that just quoted as descriptive of all foreigners. No 
credit was given to the fact that American education is in many 
respects patterned after "alien" education and that while differ- 
ing in some of their ideals many aliens were staunch supporters 
of other ideals which Klansmen called "American." The fact that 
some foreigners were "anti-American" in some of their habits 
and ideals was exaggerated into a stereotyped notion which made 
all foreigners un-American in every respect. 

Then too, Klansmen thought of a Catholic not simply as a 
communicant in the Roman Church but as one who placed his 
church above his country both in his affection and allegiance. To 
have Klansmen who were bred in the tradition of John Calvin 
and John Knox, or at least largely influenced by them, make this 
condemnation of Roman Catholics sound hypocritical. For, while 
most Protestants were willing in practice to let the authority 
of state be their conscience, in theory they were forced to demur.^ 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

What then was the difference ? It was found in the connotation 
of the word "Church." Protestant Klansmen, in case the author- 
ity of the State was in conflict with what they believed to be 
God's will, did not deny that their first obligation was to their 
God. This, of course, was exactly what the Catholics meant 
when they said that their first obligation, in case of conflict of 
authorities, was to their Church, e.g. to God's will as inter- 
preted by his own special representatives on earth, "the Church." 

Klansmen denied the hypothesis of God's special representa- 
tives and held that the pure white light of God's truth was broken 
into fantastic colors by the quite human prisms of prelate and 
foreign pope. On the other hand, they were themselves stumped 
when asked for proof that this white light of truth was trans- 
mitted any more perfectly by their own lay consciences, admit- 
tedly human also. When the infallibility of both the Roman 
hierarchy and the individual Protestant's conscience was waived, 
the problem resolved itself into the speculative question of the 
relative quantities of truth and light obtainable by the contrast- 
ing methods thus supported, a problem insolvable by any known 
procedure of mathematics. Only the formulas of faith were ap- 
plicable, which left the answer as disputed as ever because faith, 
in the respective instances, did not speak the same language. The 
Klan formula: "The voice of the native, white, Protestant is the 
voice of God for America" was as little acceptable to many people 
in America as was "The voice of the Pope, in matters in which 
he claims jurisdiction, is the voice of God." 

More important than this theoretical problem was a more prac- 
tical consideration. The philosophy of Catholicism, with its dogma 
of Papal infallibility and its highly centralized form of govern- 
ment gave it power unknown to Protestants whose dogmas of 
direct communion of the individual with his God and the su- 
premacy of the individual conscience were essentially schismatic 
and weakening. Time after time Klansmen were reminded : "The 
Roman Catholic Church is united and its membership is suscep- 
tible to manipulation by the priesthood."® 

The Roman Catholic Church, whose doctrine and government 
were largely cast during the chaos of the first ten centuries of 
our era, naturally found Unity, as a prerequisite to order and 
brotherhood, the highest ideal. Division and schism were hand- 

The Klan and the State 


maids of chaos and, as a consequence, "dogmatic intolerance" was 
regarded by her "not only as her incontestible right, but as her 
sacred duty."® 

Protestantism was in a measure the expression of the reaction 
against the regulation of life by a "medieval" Church. The ideal 
now was found not in Unity but in the contrasting principle 
of Liberty. The emotion that attended the discovery that 
salvation was the result of faith alone was to many like the wild 
joy of a school child liberated at evening from the compulsions 
of an officious teacher. It was pleasant to learn that the "inner 
light" God had bestowed upon each of his elect was adequate to 
vouchsafe God's will for him if he diligently studied His sacred 
Word. But if this individualism and freedom of conscience was 
Protestantism's greatest joy, it was also the source of its greatest 
weakness. Catholic popes had been able to command kings and 
guilds. Protestant divines, when they affirmed liberty of con- 
science, surrendered much of that power. 

This dilemma of Protestantism was still current in America 
when the Klan marshalled its members. Loving liberty, unity 
was sacrificed. Could the Klan find some method of synthesis 
which would preserve both? It boasted of its function as "the 
unifying cement of Protestantism. "i" 

But unity on a constructive program was manifestly impossible. 
Let a national or even a state wide campaign for any specific 
political or educational reform be proposed, and Klansmen diflr'ered 
about its advisability. Let strict enforcement of the Volstead Act 
be advocated, some Klaverns cooperated while others refused their 

Like a family whose non-cooperative individualistic members 
unite only against complaining outsiders, Klansmen found that 
they could really act unitedly only by joining in a crusade against 
those outsiders whom they feared were taking advantage of the 
weakness Protestants had brought upon themselves by claiming 
the right to differ. In its general aspects, therefore, the Klan 
program was almost predestined to be negative. Klansmen would 
not admit this. Indeed, they were vociferous in its denial : "We 
are not anti-Jewish; we are not anti-Negro, we are not anti- 
foreigner ; in fact we are not anti-anything. We are simply pro- 
American."" Of course no exact line can be drawn between the 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

"pro" and "anti" attitudes thus referred to. One does work in 
behalf of his own cause when he weakens his opponents, but 
Klansmen who called their strictures against Catholics and 
foreigners a Pro- American activity, merely refused to recognize 
the distinction between "pro" and "anti". This attitude was as 
absurd as to take the point of view that advertising slogans like 
"Reach for a Lucky instead of a Sweet" are not anti-anything 
but essentially positive and justifiable. 

In spite of Klan denials which, although illogical, were in most 
cases sincere enough, a large part of the Klan's political ac- 
tivity was negative. An attempt was made to destroy the political 
power and weaken the influence of individuals and groups which 
Klansmen considered "un-American." In Pennsylvania this was 
chiefly confined to activity against the Catholic Church and all 
efforts of its communicants to secure political office or power.* 

Every Catholic public official, be he policeman or burgess, 
school director or tax collector, councilman or congressman must, 
if possible, be turned out of offfce and no Catholics elected. While 
Klansmen would not assert that an individual's affiliation with 
the Catholic Church pre-determined his beliefs about traffic regu- 
lations or tariffs, there was a general feeling that the election 
of every additional Catholic to public office would hasten the time 
when our government would be turned over to a foreign Pope 
for whom indeed a place of residence was already being prepared, 
so it was said, within the walls of the Catholic University at 
Washington, D. C. 

Nor was that fateful day believed to be far distant. Many 
Klansmen were convinced that the nation had narrowly escaped 
that "catastrophe" during the administration of Woodrov/ Wilson 
when (so they asserted) a Catholic shared the White House as 
his wife, when Secretary Tumulty, "a Catholic of the Catholics 
commanded the entrance to the White House,"^^ when, accord- 
ing to widely circulated reports, "over seventy per cent of all 
appointments made by President Wilson were Catholics . . . 
(and) 62 per cent of all offices in the United States, both elective 
and appointive were held by Roman Catholics. "^^ While the 

♦When this Catholic factor was not a part of the political setting of a Klavern, its 

political efforts were generally frustrated by factional struggles between Klansmen for 

ofSce or else the Klavern was merely an acljunct to the dominant political party in its 

The Klan and the State 


worst of their predictions had not yet been fulfilled, The Grand 
Dragon of Pennsylvania warned all "faithful and esteemed Klans- 
men" that the Roman Hierarchy was still "determined to present 
our fair country as a gift to the Pope of Rome."^* 

Although Klansmen were never very clear about the ef¥ect such 
an eventuality would have upon our institutions generally, the 
belief was commonly held among them that four things would 
result. In the first place, they believed that the CathoHcs, 
wherever they secured a controlling influence in the American 
government, would use the agencies of government to strengthen 
the Catholic Church and that government funds would be ap- 
propriated to support the Catholic parochial schools. Thus the 
American principle of the separation of church and state would 
be abandoned. 

In the second place, Klansmen feared that the institution of 
civil marriage would be in danger. This they inferred from the 
fact that the Catholic Church refused to recognize the validity 
of the civil ceremony for the marriage of its communicants. 

Third, whether or not facts could be gathered which , showed 
that American Catholics had been tolerant of other Christian 
denominations, it was held that the ruling "hierarchy" of the 
Roman Church had never accepted tolerance as a principle, but 
only as a temporary policy which the peculiar circumstances in 
America made necessary. 

Finally, Klansmen believed that the philosophy of the Roman 
Church, elevating as it does the authority of the Pope, was not 
democratic but autocratic and, when Catholics claimed that "papal 
infallability" was only claimed for utterances made ex-cathedra 
on matters of faith and morals and did not extend to political 
matters, Klansmen refused to believe them. In the words of 
Grand Dragon H. C. Shaw, "the teachings of the Roman Catholic 
Church are fundamentally hostile to the spirit, ideals, and insti- 
tutions of our Republic"^* which made it unwise to have persons 
brought up under this doctrine in public office here in America. 

Such beliefs were repeatedly expressed in local Klaverns and 
acted upon in elections with the result that Catholic candidates 
for local offices were defeated in many parts of the state. In 
national politics the presidential campaign of 1928 was the most 
evident case of Klan pressure to defeat a Catholic for office. 

108 The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

Prior to that campaign, the state ofifice of the Kian had taken 
little interest in politics of a state wide or national character. 
While Sam D. Rich was King Kleagle (or Imperial Representa- 
tive) his own lack of interest in politics was reflected by virtually 
all the state officers. There is considerable evidence to show that 
Gifford Pinchot received favorable endorsement by many local 
Klaverns and Lemuel D. Peoples of the State Office took some 
interest in the success of his candidacy presumably with the con- 
sent of his superiors.* In the presidential campaign of 1924, 
there was little if any efifort made against the Democratic candi- 
date, John W. Davis, even though he denounced the Klan by 
name in his speech at Sea Girt, New Jersey, on August 22. More 
effort was made to discourage Pennsylvania Klansmen from sup- 
porting the candidacy of Robert M. LaFollette. On October 6 
and 7, 1924, at Conneaut Lake Park was held the largest Klan 
gathering in the state immediately prior to the election of that 
year. Time was taken on that occasion by both Sam D. Rich 
and Imperial Wizard Evans to denounce LaFollette as a radical 
and to predict turmoil and disaster if he were elected president. 

Against the candidacy of Alfred E. Smith the Klan put forth 
the most vigorous political effort of its career in Pennsylvania. 
The leadership of the Pennsylvania realm had passed by that 
time from Rich — and several temporary incumbents — to Rev. 
Herbert C. Shaw, an ex-Methodist minister from the South who 
had served a short pastorate in Erie, Pennsylvania. He was an 
outspoken anti-Catholic and, unlike Rich, was much interested in 
national politics. The correspondence from Shaw's ofifice began, 
early in 1927. to prepare for the coming presidential struggle. 
■'What is the Ku Klux Klan's next great battle?" he wrote in 
March of that year, and emphatically answered, "The battle to 
prevent the Roman hierarchy from seating Mr. Al Smith in the 
Presidential chair." 

Programs for Klavern meetings were suggested by the State 
office. Catechetical exercises were prepared and sent out contain- 
ing references to the recent Eucharistic Congress at Chicago and 
the celebration of High Mass on the Sesqui Centennial grounds 
at Philadelphia. The one was "the Roman Catholic Hierarchy's" 

•In correspondence with Mr. Pinchot he declined either to corroborate or deny this 

The Klan and the State 


western background for the Al Smith candidacy, the other its 
eastern background "calculated to over-awe (these sections) by a 
display of numerical strength." " To arouse the fears of earnest 
Klansmen, thev were told that Smith had many advantages m 
the coming election. "The Roman Catholic Church controls to 
a great extent the press of the country." Multitudes of Repub- 
lican Catholics would support Mr. Smith because "their love of 
Church will supplant love of party." The Ku Klux Klan was the 
only organization which stood boldly out against "Romanism 
and "nullification" to stem the tide. Solemn warning was given 
of the consequences of Mr. Smith's election: "It is a foregone 
conclusion that he will remove every Protestant from office that 
he can safely remove and put a Knight of Columbus in his place 
. Without doubt he will seek occasion to use the armed forces 
of our Country ro restore the Roman Catholic yoke to the neck 
of the Mexican People." "Why is the Ku Klux Klan opposed 
to Mr. Smith for President?" concludes the catechism, and as if 
summarizing all the long list of reasons the answer is given: 
because being a Catholic, he is "subservient to and dominated by 
the Papacy." 

The Democratic convention at Houston, faced with the fact 
that Smith was the strongest man of the party, succumbed to 
his nomination as inevitable and whipped up their courage by 
stoutly asserting the historic liberalism of the party and by roundly 
applauding speeches like that of Senator Robinson who shouted, 
"Jefferson glorified in the Virginia Statute of rehgious freedom. 
He rejoiced in the provision of the constitution that declares no 
religious test shall be required as a qualification for an office of 
trust in the United States." " Democratic Klansmen who found 
themselves powerless at Houston were not as helpless m their 
local communities. Imperial Wizard Hiram W. Evans, the head 
of the national organization, transferred his base of operations 
from Atlanta to Washington, D. C, and with an mcreased staff 
directed the fight against Smith's election. Since Republican voters 
in Pennsylvania outnumbered Democratic voters more than 5.b 
to 1 less effort was concentrated upon Pennsylvania than on 
New York State. On the other hand, high powered orators like 
Senator Heflin. of Alabama, were brought into Pennsylvania and 
large audiences were harangued. Grand Dragon Shaw denounced 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

the Catholics on every appropriate occasion making much mention 
of the political designs of the "hierarchy" which he professed to 
have learned at the Chicago Eucharistic Congress into which he 
claimed he had gained entrance disguised as a priest. A special 
effort was made to get Klansmen to subscribe personally to the 
vitriolic Fellowship Forum and, when this effort failed to secure 
the hoped for circulation, to get the local Klaverns to use some 
of their monies to purchase copies for free distribution. 

When the election returns were in and Herbert Hoover had 
gained the presidency by a substantial majority, the Klan was 
loud in its claim that it had saved the country from a papist. A 
survey of the returns in Pennsylvania is sufficient commentary 
upon the revelance of this claim in this state. It must be remem- 
bered, of course, that while Pennsylvania had some 225,000 to 
300,000 Klansmen enrolled in the Order at its peak, by 1928 
(April) that number had shrunk to a mere 26,000 and continued 
to decrease during the year. The counties listed in the table 
below are counties in which the Klan had been strong and, in 
several instances, was still strong. The figures in parenthesis 
listed under the 1928 columns are the votes cast for the guber- 
natorial candidates : Reed on the Republican ticket and McNair 
on the Democratic ticket. They are included because they offer 
a slight check on the presidential vote. 

Table " 




Per cent of 

Allegheny . . 
Schuylkill . . 





total vote 


Luzerne . . 
Lehigh . . . 
York .... 

The Klan and the State 



County (Reed) 
Allegheny .... 215,678 

(212,976 Reed) 
Westmoreland 51,760 

(47,500 Reed) 
Philadelphia . . 420,320 

(412,747 Reed) 

Schuylkill .... 46,033 

(45,512 Reed) 
Luzerne 67 ,872 

(66,869 Reed) 
Washington .. 31,099 

(28,991 Reed) 
Lehigh 40,291 

(37.643 Reed) 
York 45,791 

(36,602 Reed) 

Smith Per cent of 
(McNavr) total vote 
160,733 45.3 
(144,855 McNair) 

30,587 37.1 
(29,270 McNair) 

276,573 39.6 
(259,819 McNair) 

40,424 46.1 
(37,350 McNair) 

73,319 51.9 
(68,299 McNair) 

17,149 35.5 
(16,966 McNair) 

13,463 25.0 
(14,237 McNair) 

11,215 19.8 
(17,512 McNair) 

It will be obser^^ed from these figures that in York and Lehigh 
Counties where the percentage of Catholic population was small, 
the increase in Republican votes was much greater than the in- 
crease in Democratic votes. It is quite evident, also, that in 
every section in which there was a substantial Catholic group, 
the effect of the campaign had been to increase the Smith vote 
by a much larger percentage than the Hoover vote. It is, of 
course, impossible to determine how much of the increase in the 
Republican vote was due to the Klan activity in getting out the 
Protestant vote, or, on the other hand, how much the Klan was 
responsible for stirring Catholics to activity and enhancing the 
Smith vote. That it was as potent in the latter regard as it was 
in the former is open to little doubt. 

A narrower investigation of the election returns of smaller 
districts where flourishing Klaverns existed shows precisely the 
same result." 

112 The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

Votes Polled by the Presidential Candidates 

1924 1928 

Town Republican Democratic Republican Democratic 

Altoona 8,687 2,146 13,718 7,297 

Bedford* 756 510 901 312 

Carnegie 1,684 245 2,099 1,928 

Homestead 2,277 190 1,480 4,141 

Indiana 2,810 404 3,481 645 

McKeesport ... 6,303 1,095 8,534 5,173 

Mt. Pleasant .. 824 327 1,214 868 

Shamokin 4,279 1,388 5,912 3,555 

York* 8.275 4,020 14,246 4,554 

*These places had relatively few Catholics. 

The Pennsylvania Klan made but one attempt to introduce a 
legislative program into the State Legislature. This took place 
when a battery of four bills were prepared by the Order and 
introduced into the Assembly by Representative George G. Weber, 
of DuBois, on February 21, 1927. While these bills died in the 
Committee on Judiciary General to which they were referred, 
their content is descriptive of the focal points of Klan poHcy. 
Three of the four bills were directed against the Catholic Church 
and its subsidiary organizations. The first would by one direct 
blow have made the organization of Knights of Columbus and 
certain other Catholic Orders and Associations impossible by 
making it a felony punishable by from one to ten years hard 
labor in the State Penitentiary to hold membership "in any secret 
oath-bound corporation, association or society organized within 
this Commonwealth when the qualifications to membership is 
membership also in either a corporation, association or society 
whose seat of government is in a foreign country or whose chief 
executive officer is not a citizen of the United States." 

A second bill proposed to stop criticism of civil marriage — 
presumably by Catholics — by making it a misdemeanor "punish- 
able by a fine of $300 to $1000 and imprisonment of three: to 
twelve months to question the validity or the sanctity of any 
marriage or to reflect upon the morality of the marital state or 
to deny the legitimacy of the issue of any marriage when such 
marriage has been or is about to be entered into and solemnized 
in accordance with the statutes of this Commonwealth or of any 
other State." The third bill also related to marriage. Any per- 

The Klan and the State 


son qualified to perform the marriage ceremony was forbidden to 
"persuade, entice or induce said parties (to the marriage) to 
enter into any contract, agreement, or stipulation, oral or ni 
writing, to educate or train the issue of said marriage accordmg 
to the teachings or tenets of any particular church, sect, religion, 
or belief." The last of the Klan bills showed the attitude of the 
Klan toward the question of inter-marriage between the Negroes 
and whites. Such inter-marriage was, by the terms of the bill, 
"forever prohibited." It was made a felony for any minister or 
other authorized official to unite any such persons in marriage, 
on penalty of a maximum fine of $5,000 and a maximum im- . 
prisonment of five years. 

A number of Klansmen in the Assembly credited the failure to 
secure the passage of this legislation to the lack of skill on the 
part of the sponsor of the bills. It is true that he had little ability 
and no experience in handling matters of this kind. But even if 
the sponsorship of these bills had been in difTerent hands, there 
was little hope of pushing through measures which were so 
discriminatory. Besides, there was insufficient Klan strength in 
the Assembly to make it worthwhile for other "interests" to bar- 
gain with the Klansmen. 

Turning to national affairs, the Klan took some interest in 
immigration restriction and claimed a considerable share of the 
glory for the passage of the Immigration Act of 1924. There is 
little evidence, however, that the Pennsylvania organization took 
an active part in the matter. Senator James Reed, of Pennsyl- 
vania, sponsored the bill in the Senate and would certainly have 
been familiar with interested groups which might have given him 
support. Reed asserts, however, that he was not aware of any 
support given to the measure by the Klan in Pennsylvania, nor, 
for that matter, by a Klan lobby at Washington.^" 

The Klan did directly oppose our entrance into the League of 
Nations and World Court. Klan membership reflected the nor- 
mally isolationist attitude and the fears of the average Americans 
that we would be drawn into entangling alliances. Characteris- 
tically, however, the reasons given by Klansmen were primarily 
neither economic nor political. It was the predominance of 
Catholic countries in the League and World Court and the con- 
sequent dangers to American Protestantism that made them bad. 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

The Realm Office circularized its members and urged them to pur- 
chase folders for distribution in public places. One of these cir- 
culars, identified as Leaflet No. 4 in the correspondence of the 
Realm Office was entitled, "Why the Ku Klux Klan Opposed 
the World Court." It was regarded as one of the best issued. 
On the back of the Leaflet was the maxim, "The Ku Klux Klan 
holds that American Questions should be settled by Americans 
in America. Inside was merely the following brief statement. 

World Court Officers 

President, M. De La Torriente Pereza of Cuba — Catholic. 

Vice-Presidents, M. Pusta of Esthonia— Catholic, Count De 
Gimeno of Spain — Catholic, M. Fortoul of Venezuela — 
Catholic, Sir Lord Robert Cecil of England — Protestant. 
(80^0 Catholic*) 

Council of the League of Nations 

Advised by the World Court 

M. Vandervelde of Belgium — Catholic. 

M. DeMello Franco of Brazil — Catholic. 

Dr. Benes of Czechoslovakia — Catholic. 

M. Briand of France — Catholic. 

M. Scialoga of Italy — Catholic. 

M. Quero Boule of Spain — Catholic. 

M. Sjoberg of Sweden — Catholic. 

Sir Austen Chamberlain of Great Britain — Protestant. 
Viscount Ishii of Japan — Shinto. 

(Council 70% Catholic*) 

The Assembly of the League of Nations 

Abyssinia — three — Catholic. Bulgaria — three — Catholic. 

Albania — two — Catholic. Finland — three — Catholic. 

Austria — two — Catholic. France — twenty-four — 

Belgium — six — CathoHc. Catholic. 

Brazil — six— Catholic. etc., etc., etc. 

(Assembly membership 286. CathoHc 192, Protestant 94) 
*Catholic — one subservient to and dominated by the papacy. 

The cancellation or reduction of foreign war debt owed to the 
U. S. was also consistently opposed in the literature of the Klan, 
but since the policy of our State Department was in line with 
Klan beliefs, there was no occasion for the Klan to get excited 
about this matter. There was, however, one other item of foreign 

The Klan and the State 115 

policy which aroused the Realm office to feverish activity. This 
was "the Mexican Question." In an attempt to enforce its re^ 
vised Constitution, Mexico had been charged by certain American 
interests with violations of their rights. There was considerable 
correspondence between our Department of State and the Mexi- 
can government. But the interest which the Klan took in this 
controversy was not economic. Nowhere in the literature of the 
Order is there any evidence that the Klan leaders understood the 
technical, legal or commercial matters under dispute. They op- 
posed intervention in the affairs of Mexico not because they were 
hostile to American trade or investments in Mexico, but because 
it appeared that the Catholics wanted American intervention. 

The new Mexican Constitution besides trying to repatriate cer- 
tain mineral and land resources had also tried to secularize politics 
and education. As a means to this latter end foreign priests 
were forbidden to remain within the country, certain monasteries 
and nunneries were aboHshed and provision was made for pubhc 
education under state control. The loss of privilege suffered by 
the Roman Church in Mexico naturally aroused the sympathy of 
many American Catholics, some of whom openly expressed the 
wish that the U. S. would intervene in order to preserve at once 
American economic interests and religious freedom. 

This interest of American Catholics in the Mexican situation 
was a source of alarm for the Klansmen. They saw in it an 
attempt of the Roman Church to "involve this country in a^war 
with Mexico." Concealing its aim to regain thereby its "lost 
privileges and power," the Roman Church was laying down "a 
clever smoke screen of protecting American lives and property." 
Klansmen held that Secretary Kellogg had been misled by Catho- 
lics "to believe that the Mexican Government's casting off the 
yoke of Rome is Bolshevism." They broadcast the fact that the 
Knights of Columbus had raised a million dollars to propagandize 
for intervention, and prophesied that President Coolidge was 
ready to "lay a strong hand upon Mexico" as soon as the ad- 
journment of Congress would free him from Congressional inter- 
ference. The Realm Office encouraged all Klansmen to arouse 
themselves to meet the crisis and informed the local klavems 
that it had not been negligent of its duty but had distributed 


116 The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

"upwards of one hundred thousand four-page Mexican Leaflets" 
and had in addition "assisted with Bulletins and speakers." " 

With the mention of the anti-Smith campaign, the ef¥ort to 
prevent the entrance of the United States into the League of 
Nations and the World Court and the flurry of excitement over 
a feared U. S. intervention in Mexico to aid the Catholic Church, 
the list of political activities of any national importance under- 
taken by the Klan in Pennsylvania is exhausted. After 1928 the 
Order, with its greatly depleted membership became increasingly 
just another patriotic society. In its literature it supported the 
big army and navy program, applauded the Daughters of the 
American Revolution, and even expressed good will toward Hitler 
because his anti-Semitic policy was felt to be somewhat akin to 
its own racial attitude. 

Between the lines of much of its propaganda one could read 
the implication that it might not be a bad thing for the United 
States if a fascist movement with the Klan in the role of leader- 
ship were to develop here. But the dwindling membership of the 
Order gave no promise of that. Perhaps it was more to keep 
the Klan from disintegrating altogether than to produce the fear 
prerequisite for a large grant of power to a dictator that the 
Klan leaders after 1931 simulated increasing concern over the 
growth of radicalism within the country and substituted "the 
menace of communism" for the fading spectre of Romanism. 


1. Quoted by Stanley Frost in the Outlook, vol. 13(5, p. 66. 

2. Hiram Wesley Evans in the Forum, vol. 74, p. 801, December, 1925. 

3. Ibid. 

4. Told to the writer by Ross Kalp, E. C. of Scottdale Klavern. 

5. Told to the writer by Sterrett L. Clark, E. C. of Hazelwood Klavern. 

6. Hiram W. Evans in the Outlook, vol. 1}6, p. 64. 

7. Compare the protests of American Protestants to the Supreme Court Decision in the 
Macintosh Case. See for instance Christian Century, June 10, 1931, p. 776; July 
1, 1931, p. 878 ; Jan. 20, 1932, p. 84; also Lit. Dig. Jan. 25, 1930, p. 14. 

8. For example, see: Correspondence of H. C. Shaw to the Exalted Cyclops of the 
Realm, March 29, 1927. 

9. Catholic Encyclopedia: Article on "Tolerance." 

10. Klan Leaflet, Form C-lOn. 

11. There was not a single Klan Exalted Cyclops or state official with whom the writer 
raised this question who did not deny that the Klan's program was negative. See 
also manuscriDt of a speech delivered many times by Rev. J. F. Strayer ; also 
Proceedings of the Second Imperial Klonvokation, p. 35: "The Knights of the Ku 
Klux Klan is not in any sense an anti-organization..." 

12. Circular letter by H. C. Shaw to all the Exalted Cyclops of the Realm, March 28, 1927. 
15. Anonymous pamphlet entitled "Food for Thought" which was circulated among 

Klansmen of Pennsylvania and elsewhere. 

14. Circular letter by H. C. Shaw to "Faithful and Esteemed Klansmen," June 16, 1927. 

15. Pittsburgh Gazette Times, October 7, 1924. 

The Klan and the State 



16 Correspondence of Shaw to his Exalted Cyclops, March 29, 1927. 


from the '■Pennsylvania Manual'' 1929, p. 527 following. 

oLu"oT?etatw\ to' Mex,crn*n^ were taken ^rom m.meographed circulars 

?enf from Shaw's office to all the Klaverns in the State. Undated, tliey were d.s- 
tributed in the spring or summer of 1927. 


The Klan and the Church : 
Religious Activities of the Order 

'Men will wrangle for religion; write for it; fight for 
it; die for it; anything but live for it." — Caleb Colton 

Founded by a one-time Methodist preacher, the Knights of 
the Ku Klux Klan boasted of their devotion to religion. The 
purpose of the Order was to attain the "solidarity of Protestants 
for Social, Civic, and Moral Defense and Progress." ^ Its symbol 
was a cross. Its "Kreed" asserted that Klansmen "reverentially 
acknowledge the majesty and supremacy of the Divine Being, 
and recognize the goodness and providence of the Same." - One 
of the officials of every klavern was a chaplain called a Kludd. 
At each meeting he delivered an opening prayer, expressed to 
God the hope that Klansmen might "forsake the bad and choose 
and strive for the good, remembering always that the living Christ 
is a Klansman's criterion of character." ^ In the closing ceremony 
of the klavern, in answer to the Exalted Cyclop's inquiry, "How 
speaketh the oracles of our God?", the Kludd arose to say: 
"Thou shall worship the Lord thy God. Render unto the State 
the things which are the State's. Love the brotherhood, honor 
the king. Bear ye one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of 
Christ." * A "kloxology" was raised to "God of eternity" and 
"the blessings of God" were called down upon them in benedic- 
tion. All this was done before an altar, which was an essential 
piece of equipment of every klavern. 

In the naturalization ceremony by which applicants were in- 
vested with membership in the Order, the applicant was obliged 
to affirm his belief in "the tenets of the Christian religion," was 
anointed with "a transparent, life-giving, powerful, God-given 
fluid . . . divinely distilled," * and was dedicated by prayer "to 

The Klan and the Church 119 

that sublime work harmonic with God's will and purpose in our 
creation." ^ Thus was it officially assumed that Klansmen were 
servants of the Lord God for whose benediction they had no 
hesitancy in asking. 

Not only were klavern meetings and initiation ceremonies given 
a religious cast but national and state conventions, especially m 
the first few years of the Order's history, were conducted in an 
atmosphere of religious devotion deliberately produced by the 
leaders. Mention of Christian ideals and the invocation of God's 
guidance were common. H. E. Evans, addressing the Imperial 
Klonvokation in 1924 (Kansas City, Mo.), tactfully minimizmg 
the importance of his own leadership, asserted that "God has 
done a greater thing for the Klan than that of giving it human 
leadership. He has given it His Own Leadership. The Lord 
has guided us and shaped the events in which we rejoice. This 
fact . . . must increase our faith in the Klan,— in its growth m 
grace and power, in its mission, in its final complete victory." In 
all important gatherings of the Klan, each day's session was begun 
with a devotional service. The favorite Scripture reading was 
the familiar admonition of St. Paul to his Roman brethren to 
"think soberly ... be kindly alfectioned . . . recompense to 
no man evil for evil . . . live peaceably with all men." There 
is evidence that some Klan leaders held before Klansmen a high 
spiritual idealism and devotion. To quote from one of them: 

"My brethren, I never enter a Klavern and stand before 
a prepared altar where the Fiery Cross looks down upon me, 
its Holy Light blazing forth all the sacred traditions of the 
past, nor behold it as it gives light to the feet of Klansmen 
in parades through the streets of a great city, that 1 do not 
wish that I myself and every Klansman in the nation . . . 
could behold that Cross as Paul beheld it, and cry with him: 
'God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, 
and I unto the world.' If every Klansman in the nation 
could say that with Paul, America \yould be safe for Amer- 
icans from this day to the end of time. . . . 

"Keeping step with the Master and daily striving to emu- 
late His example— this is the sacrifice, if sacrifice it may be 
called which Klansmen offer that America and the world 
may be saved. Are you ready to lay all your consecrated 
power of manhood on the altar this afternoon as a token ot 

120 The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

love and gratitude to Him, and to say: 'By the help of 
Almighty God, I determine that from this hour on I will so 
live that I can hand down to future generations the standard 
of what a real American ought to be ; that I will seek to make 
America the first of all the nations to fulfill the will of God 
and to crown Jesus Lord of all?" " 

There is no doubt that many honest Klansmen were inspired 
by the religious activities of the Order to consecrate themselves 
to principles which they believed, whether mistaken or not, were 
consistent with Christian teachings. Returning from the Kansas 
City Klonvokation of 1924 one Pennsylvania Exalted Cyclops ob- 
served to the writer: "Pve attended a lot of church gatherings 
and conventions both of my own and other denominations but I 
never attended one where the revival spirit was as pronounced as 
it was at the Klan Klonvokation." 

It is not true, however, to infer that the religious fervor which 
characterized a few great inspirational gatherings of the Klan was 
typical of the general run of state meetings in Pennsylvania. 
Called Kloreros, these annual meetings were likewise opened with 
devotional exercises. Rev. J. W. Dempster, of Crafton, was con- 
spicuous as a leader of these services for the first few years that 
they were held. Nevertheless, the minutes of these meetings gives 
one the impression that the devotions were not an integral part 
of the programs, being largely perfunctory like the routine prayers 
at the opening of a session of Congress or the required ten verses 
of scripture and the repetition of the Lord's Prayer at the start 
of the day's work in the public schools. The spirit invoked by 
the officiating minister was not noticeably present as the business 
of the session was taken up. 

Locally, a few klans maintained a rather sustained evangelistic 
atmosphere over a considerable period. It was characteristic of 
the early part of the movement, however, and of those Klaverns 
which had enrolled most of the ministers of their communities. 
While the number of such instances was by no means large enough 
to consider them typical of the movement, it can likewise be said 
that the absence of any expression of religious devotion other 
than that in the ritual was also typical of only a small percentage 
of the local units. 

The Klan and the Church 


When initiation ceremonies grew wearisome or ceased and the 
business to be transacted was small, klavern programs were often 
pieced out with song services which had a religious or semi- 
religious character. Among the standard hymns which were con- 
sidered by Klansmen to be appropriate were the familiar "Blest 
Be the Tie That Binds" and "When I Survey the Wondrous 
Cross." "The Old Rugged Cross" became almost an official hymn. 
Although sometimes sung with the original words of its author, it 
was more often turned into a campaign song by changing the 
chorus to read, "I will cherish the bright Fiery Cross . . ." 
The ingenuity of Klansmen found considerable expression m 
making appropriate changes in familiar hymns to suit the Klan 
symbolism. Thus "There's a Church in the Valley by the Wild- 
wood" became "There's a Cross That is Burning in the Wild- 
wood" ; "Onward, Christian Soldiers" became "Onward, Valiant 
Klansmen"; and "Let the Lower Lights Be Burning" became: 

"Let the fiery cross be burning, 
Spread its beams o'er land and sea ; 
Satan's wiles forever spurning, 
Bringing Christ to you and me." 

In KUan ideology, religion and patriotism were often naturally 
and unconsciously mingled. It is doubtful if most Klansmen con- 
ceived of "love of God" and "love of country" as distinct things. 
They thought of America, as the Israelites had of Canaan, as 
God's special gift to the people whose culture He wished to pre- 
serve, the inference being that this cuhure was akin to God's 
will for America and through America for the whole world. 
At its worst, Klan tliinking turned the non-racial religion of 
Christianity into one as narrowly national and racial as was the 
Jehovah worship of the Israelites during the period of the Judges. 
God became merely the press agent of the Pilgrim Fathers. 

Rev. Paul S. Wight, who found in Klan publicity a very lu- 
crative way to serve God and his own Christian (Campbelite) 
Church and who finally established "The International Music 
Company" to distribute song booklets and victrola records to 
Klansmen, is the author of the following verses illustrating this 
synthesis of patriotism and religion: 

122 The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

Klansman's Jubilee Song^^ 

(Tune: Battle Hymn of the Republic) 
We rally 'round Old Glory in our robes of spotless white; 
While the fiery cross is burning, in the silent silv'ry night. 
Come join our glorious army in the cause of God and Right. 
The Klan is marching on . . . 

The blessed Pilgrim Fathers, fought and died for liberty. 
They sailed through troubled waters, died that we might be 
made free. 

Oh, shall we dare surrender ? No ! Our battle cry shall be : 
"God's truth is marching on." 

Oh, yes, we stand for liberty, for freedom of our land ; 
The same as our dear fathers' won from cruel tyrant's hand. 
We'll keep the sacred heritage, for in His might we stand, 
As we go marching on. 

Another "religious" practice which was characteristic of Klans 
throughout the state consisted of church visitations. Just as their 
song services combined religious worship with "kluxing" and the 
building of morale, so these visitations had a double purpose. 
They passed for devoutness and advertised the Order as well. 
The most common fonn of this practice was to come to the church 
in a body dressed in full regalia. Usually there was some attempt 
made to secure the permission of the minister or other important 
official of the church and to have provision made for a room in 
which to robe and reserved seats adequate to accommodate them 
in the auditorium. This latter allowed them to march in after 
the usual audience had assembled and after the service had com- 
menced. The escorting ushers, the orderly marching, the waiting 
audience, it was felt, all added dignity and impressiveness to the 
ceremony. Sometimes the Klansmen would contribute a special 
song to the service ; often they merely sat quietly and gave as 
much attention to the minister's remarks as their uncomfortable 
bodies, perspiring under their robes, would allow. 

Klansmen were quite conscious of the publicity value of these 
occasions and in view of this fact and the anticipation of a news 
item in the local paper, they were quite willing to pay for value 
received. When the collection plates were passed they were gen- 
erous in their contributions, often giving as much as a dollar 

The Klan and the Church 123 

each Many a pastor and deacon of an impoverished church wel- 
comed visitations for this pecuniary benefit. Regarding the effect 
of these donations upon Klansmen, one district official boas ed 
that there had been an increase in Hberality among the Klan 
members. "Around Reading," said this official, "the 'Dutch were 
surprisingly tight in the matter of basket contributions <:hurch 
Ordinarily they put m just a penny or two. One of the firs 
times we went to a service, each of us put in a silver dollar. It 
was interesting to hear these dropping one after another into the 
plates. The plates actually became so heavy that they were 
annoying. After that experience we usually gave dollar bills 
folded in the shape of the letter 'K.' I think we actually got 
some of our people used to contributing a decent sum to the 
church collections." But, since no attempt was made by his 
official to determine the actual contributions of Klansmen when 
attending church as ordinary communicants, the inference made 
must be interpreted as purely conjectural. 

Moreover, such church visitations were hardly regular enough 
to be habit forming in any respect. If two were made yearly a 
Klan usually congratulated itself upon its cooperation with the 
regular activities of the church. Besides, the advertising value of 
such occasions depended in part upon their unusualness The m- 
frequency of this type of church visitation was also due to the 
fact that by no means all Protestant ministers welcomed the robed 
Klansmen. Among ministers who were not Klan members, few 
indeed wished to have them come. The few who did grant them 
permission were often personally rewarded. "I got twenty-five 
dollars in a lump sum," said one such minister^ ' and later nve 
and ten dollar bills to total sixty-five dollars. The Klan wanted 

the publicity." " , ^ a 

Another type of visitation, while not so frequently attempted 
also served to identify the Klan as an Order which sanctioned 
and supported the regular work of the Protestant churches. The 
following procedure was used. A few Klansmen m full regalia 
and with the visors of their hoods down to prevent their identifi- 
cation would enter the service unannounced, often interrupting 
the minister in the midst of a sermon. Two Klansmen, perhaps, 
would enter each door leading into the auditorium and stand on 
guard while two or four others would march down the center 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

aisle to the pulpit, give the minister an envelope, about face, march 
from the building and disappear in waiting cars. If well staged 
such a visitation was startling in its effect, having much of the 
dramatic quality of a hold-up in broad daylight. The minister 
whose service was thus interrupted and who generally had diffi- 
culty in recapturing the attention of his audience was compensated 
by receiving a letter commending his work and a small personal 
donation, usually from ten to twenty-five dollars in amount. 

After reviewing these religious or semi-religious practices of 
the Klan the question naturally arises : what was the effect of the 
Order upon the religious life of the individual members? The 
testimony given was varied. "Men prayed in my Klavern meet- 
ings who I am sure never prayed before, at least in public," said 
one Exalted Cyclops.^* "The Klan brought a religious influence 
about a class of men who seldom went to any church service," 
said another.^° Klansmen from diff'erent parts of the state told 
the writer that they were under the impression that it was a re- 
quirement of the Order that members must attend church services. 
While there was no official rule of this kind, their testimony bears 
witness to the fact that church attendance was at least strongly 
recommended by some Exalted Cyclops. On the other hand, a 
secretary of another local Klavern testified : "We didn't tell the 
men to go to church. We told them to go home and read their 
Bibles and carry out what they found there. If they did that, 
they couldn't go wrong." 

In general, the testimony warrants the confident assertion that 
the Klan, although it claimed to be a militant Protestant Order, 
did not contribute much to the growth of membership either of 
the churches or of Sunday Schools and Bible study groups. This 
was not surprising. Many Protestant church members gladly 
joined the Klan because they found it an institution which gave 
expression to their beliefs and fears by action which the churches 
refused to take. Certain considerations, however, prevented as 
natural a movement from the Klan into the churches. The Klan 
was not engaged in proselytizing non-Protestants or converting 
disbelievers like the regular missionary societies. It antagonized 
rather than converted those of dift'ering beliefs. Already nominal 
Protestants or non-church goers with Protestant background, 
Klansmen did not gravitate into the churches because the churches 

The Klan and the Church 


furnished nothing essential to their needs— with one exception to 
be noted later. 

Desiring inspiration for their program of direct action, of 
political and often physical coercion, Klansmen found the churches 
—save in the prohibition struggle— committed to the milder proc- 
esses of persuasion and spiritual regeneration. Eager for battle 
against foes whom they considered both disciplined and unscru- 
pulous they found little stimulus in the preachment of the 
redeeming power of love. The Klan secured more inspiration 
from the vigorously anti-Catholic papers like The Menace and the 
Fellowship Forum and from their own professional organizers 
and press than from the churches. The goal of the Klan was 
not primarily the development of religious devotion but the de- 
velopment and expression of religious partisanship. Klansmen 
had graduated, so to speak, from the elementary school of the 
church or. like self-educated men, had acquired "an equivalent 
training" outside her walls. They felt little need to go back to 
her for inspiration just as the adult finds it unnecessary to return 
to his primer and lexicon. This is the reason why the Klan, 
while its membership included many non-churchgoers, did not 
measurably swell the church congregations. 

On the other hand, the churches did have prestige and the 
Klan badly needed that. Indeed, it was indispensible, and the 
Klan, therefore, tried to strengthen every connection with the 
churches which could possibly be established. This explains the 
insistence of the Klan leaders that their Order was "Protestantism 
militant" ; that it was "Protestantism's Ally," doing in civil life 
that which the churches, being strictly religious institutions, could 
not undertake without violating the principle of "separation of 
church and state." " This explains why Klansmen who enjoyed 
the heady wine of Klan activity and found the program of the 
churches flat in comparison, were so eager to profess their loyalty 
to Protestantism. To secure recognition by the churches they 
quite willingly gave periodic donations and praise. When repulsed, 
the general attitude of Klansmen was that of disappointment and 
anger. They would show the church even to the extent of "break- 
ing" hostile ministers and of encouraging withdrawals from their 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

There were, of course, specific instances which varied from the 
general rule described above. For example, the first minister in 
the city of Pittsburgh to join the Klan was the pastor of an 
impoverished Methodist Protestant parish in North Side. The 
Klan deliberately built its membership and, with Klan assistance, 
it enjoyed a rather flourishing condition for a time. While this 
is the only instance of its kind that has come to the attention of 
the writer, there were many cases where churches whose pastors 
were Klansmen gained at the expense of other churches in the 
community whose pastors were openly hostile to the Klan. This 
movement of Klansmen into churches whose pastors were them- 
selves Klansmen was never large and consisted generally of radical 
individuals who were potential trouble makers anyway. Nor was 
the movement wholly away from the anti-Klan ministers. A great 
deal of dissatisfaction was expressed by parishioners of the Klan 
ministers who disliked the hullabaloo of Klan visitations and were 
hostile to the secrecy and to the extra-legal methods of the Order. 
Withdrawals of such parishioners often equalled the gains pre- 
viously mentioned. 

The Klan, whose ideals included the unity of all Protestants for 
the defense of church and state, became a divisive force of no 
small importance. Fortunately it did not array denomination 
against denomination. The heads of synods, presbyteries, con- 
ferences, (or corresponding bodies) in the state maintained an 
official silence regarding the Order. Personally, many of these 
church officials advised their pastors to ignore the Klan if possible. 
In a survey, made by the writer, of representative ministers of 
three leading denominations in the state, the testimony was almost 
universal that no official action was taken either by the district 
conferences of their denominations or by ministerial associations 
in the various cities and communities where they served.* There 
was, however, a growing belief among a majority of the ministers 
that the Klan was a disturbing force which they hoped might 
quickly disappear. While some ministers were Klan members and 

♦Interesting in this connection is the fact that some church publications avoided dis- 
cussion of the Klan in their columns. The Presbyterian Banner, for instance, during the 
years 1921-1925, made no mention o^ the Klan except in one news item regarding the 
attempt of the Klan to have white officials chosen for the Soldiers Hospital at Tuskegee. 
The Methodist Review during the years 1924-25 when the Klan was at its height, carried 
only one article which might be inferred as bearing on the Klan. It was a literary re- 
view entitled " Browning's Condemnation of Roman Catholicism." 

The Klan and the Church 127 

believed that it served a good purpose, many more thought that 
it represented a travesty both of Americanism and of Prot- 

Although the Klan did not cause noticeable tightenmg of de- 
nominational lines as between the Protestants, its divisive char- 
acter was frequently evidenced within the parishes themselves. 
One reason for the division of opinion has been suggested above. 
Klansmen were often disappointed with the cold reception they 
received from the ministers and church officials. It was irrita- 
ting to be disowned by the institutions in whose defense they 
had spent time and money. The anti-Klan Protestants, on the 
other hand, had grown antagonistic to the Order for three main 
reasons: it was secret, it had used the churches to gain cheap 
publicity for itself, and its opposition to those of other races 
and religious faiths was lacking in discrimination. There were 
quite a few instances where the antagonism between the pro-Klan 
and anti-Klan factions within a parish reached a critical stage 
which seriously imperiled the work of the church, at least tempo- 
rarily The Methodist Protestant Church in Connellsville, the 
Baptist Church in Charleroi, the United Brethren Church in 
Latrobe, the Christian Church in Scottdale, the United Brethren 
Church in Hanover, the Presbyterian churches m Crafton and 
Carnegie are typical cases. Dr. David M. Lyle, of Johmt^J"' 
reported another instance ; Dr. William R. Craig, of Philadel- 
phia, reported two more; Rev. J. E. A. Bucke, of Sunbury, re- 
ported one; Rev. I. B. Littleton reported that ^ost oi the 
churches with which he was familiar in Cambria and Bedford 
counties had some friction over the Klan although in most cases 
it was not serious. Certain types of trouble arose more frequently 
and are illustrated by the following specific cases. 

Case one The telephone in Dr. Michael McDivitt's office 
rang one morning. The Doctor, who was the pastor of an 
influential Presbyterian Church in South Hills district, R ts- 
burgh, answered. The person calling spoke of the Ku Khix 
Klan and its growth in Pittsburgh and wondered if Dr. 
McDivitt was interested. He also mentioned an open nieet- 
ing of the Order in the Strand Theatre soon to be held. 
"We would be glad to have you take a part on the program 
of that meeting if you could arrange to be present. 

The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

"Who is it speaking?" asked Doctor McDivitt. The caller 
replied that he was not in a position to give his name but 
that he was an official — an Exalted Cyclops — of a local 
Klavern. Doctor McDivitt told him that he could not pos- 
sibly attend this Klan meeting, having a previous engagement. 

Then followed a request from the official that Dr. McDivitt 
read an announcement of the meeting from his pulpit the 
following Sunday morning. This was also declined. 

A little piqued, the Klan official said, "You don't know 
who you are talking to, do you?" The Doctor admitted his 
ignorance and stated that he thought it unfair for the official 
to continue the conversation if he withheld his own name. 

"I am a member of your church," the official disclosed 
and then stated that the Knoxville church was an impor- 
tant one, that it had a wide influence and announced, "We 
are coming over to church some Sunday as a body." Dr. 
McDivitt replied that he would be glad to welcome them if 
they came without their regalia, as regular worshipers. 

"We have in mind to make a substantial donation to the 
relief fund of the church," parried the official in the hope 
that such a prospect might make some difference in his 
pastor's attitude. "I have nothing to say against that," re- 
plied the Doctor. "If you care to make such a donation 
we will be glad to accept it but I cannot give my consent 
to your coming in regalia." 

"Suppose, then, that we just drop in sometime, without 
invitation," suggested the Exalted Cyclops. When Dr. Mc- 
Divitt protested against this, the official began to speak 
threateningly. Dr. McDivitt listened for a while and then 
replied, "I am not afraid of what your organization or any 
secret society can do to me or to the Church of Christ. 
Christ's Church is always out in the open and isn't ashamed 
of what it does or says and unless you are willing to reveal 
your name, our conversation must stop." 

The telephone receivers were hung up but the minister, 
in spite of his bold assertion, was disturbed. He did not 
know how many Klansmen belonged to his congregation or 
how serious a division might arise from his attitude. Not 
until the Session of his church unanimously upheld his action 
did he cease to worry. Fortunately the Klan group in his 
church were not numerous enough to warrant any further 
action by the Order.^* 

Case two. Not many blocks away from Dr. McDivitt's 
church was the Knox Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church. 
There were among its members quite a group of Klansmen 

The Klan and the Church 


when Clyde Nevins, its new pastor, came. A brilliant young 
man and more liberal in his views than his Klansmen parish- 
ioners he refused all their invitations and solicitations to 
join the Order. In fact on several occasions he pubhcally 
expressed his disapproval of its methods. His Klansmen 
parishioners, thus rebuffed, retaliated in kind. They became 
actively hostile to their minister and came to his services m 
robes and hoods more as a warning than as a sign of ap- 
proval of the work of the church. Rev. Nevins found his 
efTorts to lead his church so thwarted that his Bishop was 
finally obliged to remove him to another charge. 

Meanwhile the anti-KIan parishioners were chagrined to 
f^nd their services disturbed by robed Klansmen. One of the 
leading members of the congregation came to Dr. McDivitt 
furious in his resentment about a Klan visitation that had 
just taken place, and asked if he might transfer with his 
family to Dr. McDivitt's church. With difficulty Dr. Mc- 
Divitt persuaded him to remain in the church where he was 
already influential and aid in preventing the disintegration 
which was rapidly taking place." 

Case three. It was Easter Sunday, 1923, in Belleview, 
one of the better residential centers not far from Pittsburgh 
which overlook the Ohio River from the bluff on its north- 
ern bank. Dr. R. B. Urmy was in his pulpit at the Metho- 
dist Episcopal Church and the service was well under way. 
Just as the collection was being taken, the auditorium doors 
opened and a group of Klansmen in full regalia entered. 
They separated into three groups and started down the aisles 
toward the pulpit. As six of them approached Attorney 
Elmer Kidney, a trustee of the church who was assisting 
with the collection of the offering, blocked their way and 
sharply ordered them to "get out and be quick about it." 
Dr. Urmy, too, rose and said, "Gentlemen, you are disturb- 
ing the services here, which is a violation of the law. You 
will be perfectly welcome to remain if you remove your 
disguises. Otherwise you must go." 

At this double rebuff the Klansmen hesitated and finally 
retreated toward the door. Attorney Kidney followed them 
with mounting indignation at their affrontery in thus break- 
ing unheralded into the service. In the vestibule his six 
feet and two hundred pounds went into action with the re- 
sult that he had several hoods and parts of robes as evi- 
dence of his prowess and of the hurried departure of the 
startled Klansmen. 

Dr. Urmy continued the Easter service announcing that 
he would use the Klan as the subject of his sermon the 
following Sunday evening, at which time he criticized the 

The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

Order declaring it to be both un-Christian and un-American. 
The incident proved to be a tactical defeat of some impor- 
tance for the Klan. Several of its state officials called on 
Dr. Urmy the following week, professing the good inten- 
tions of their Order. They had only desired to openly 
demonstrate their support of the work of his church but, 
in spite of this conciliatory attitude. Dr. Urmy refused to 
retract any statements he had made in criticism of the Klan. 
Fortunately the Klan was weak in Belleview and there was 
almost no opposition to him from Klansmen within his own 

Case four. That all ministers did not fare so well when 
they took a stand on the Klan issue is shown by the experi- 
ence of Rev. Fred R. Dent. Graduated from Washington 
and Jefferson College in 1905 where he did excellent work, 
he went to Youngstown for his first charge, later coming to 
Milvale Presbyterian Church. In both places he was ac- 
ceptably received and the reports of his work were good. 
While at Milvale he became interested in the Klan and was 
offered remunerative work with the organization as a lec- 
turer. In this capacity he proved quite effective. He helped 
to organize the Altoona Klavern which grew to be the largest 
in the state, having more than 2,000 members. He boasted 
of having signed up 550 members during one meeting at 
this place. 

For a time he worked as assistant Kleagle on a regular 
commission and was given charge of propagation in a dis- 
trict of his own. He was finally hired by the Atlanta office 
and received his checks regularly every two weeks. While 
this meant a considerable addition to his regular salary as 
pastor at Milvale, it also demanded that he give at least four 
nights of the week to the Klan activities. Dr. McDivitt, 
who had gone to college with him, tried to persuade him to 
quit the Order. "You may be in pocket now but my pre- 
diction is that you will be out of pocket later," he warned. 
Rev. Dent, however, found more congenial companionship 
and advice while in the company of Rev. Daugherty and 
Rev. Dempster who were likewise Klan pastors. Rev. 
Dempster and he would spend long hours in the Seventh 
Avenue Hotel where they smoked and talked together. 

But when the Klan declined, Rev. Dent declined with it. 
He had alienated a good portion of his congregation by his 
neglect of his pastoral duties. When they asked for a change 
of ministers he was obliged to seek another opening. Doctor 
Jones of the First Presloyterian Church wrote many letters 
of recommendation for him ; Dr. McDivitt wrote many also. 
As a capable man and a good preacher. Rev. Dent could be 

The Klan and the Church 


praised but his affiliation with the Ku Klux Klan turned 
parish after parish against him. When this writer inter- 
viewed him (1933) he was living with a relative spendmg 
his leisure hours digging up the records of his family history 
and preaching to a little rural church which could not ade- 
quately support him and in which he seemed little interested. 

By no means all the ministers who lectured for the Klan as a 
profitable side line suffered the fate of Rev. Dent. The list of 
those who did suffer severely, however, is long enough. The evi- 
dence is convincing that Rev. J. W. Dempster of the Crafton 
Presbyterian Church who as a Klansman rose high in the coun- 
cils of the state organization, had so alienated his congregation 
that he would shortly have been' removed from his church in a 
similar fashion had he not suddenly died of a stroke before the 
Crafton church had taken action. Not a single case has been 
reported of a minister whose membership in the Order gained 
for him the respect of his denominational leaders or materially 
aided in his professional advancement. 

From the fact that division was prevalent within congregations 
over the Klan issue can easily be inferred the fact that the Klan 
failed to stimulate progress toward unified action by the Prot- 
estant churches or to increase cooperation among them. This 
was true in spite of the general assumption in Klan literature 
and by the propagandists of the Order that all denominations 
were equal in rights and represented one unified body of opin- 
ion which could be adequately described by the singular noun 
Protestantism. The Klan problem itself was considered a local 
issue, not one for united action by any group of churches. 

On the other hand, the Klan definitely hindered the growth of 
a spirit of cooperation between Protestants and Catholics and 
their affiliated organizations in certain common enterprises to 
which the Klan gave its support. There had, of course, never 
been— except in extremely rare instances— any religious coopera- 
tion between the Catholic Church and the various Protestant 
denominations ; no transfer of members by letter, no exchange of 
pulpits, no union meetings, no visitations by communicants to 
each other's services with the consent of priests and ministers. 
The dogmatic differences between Protestantism and Catholicism 
were great enough to make them unassimilable. Nevertheless, 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

Catholics occupied seats with Protestants on many charitable and 
civic bodies and had shared in advancing numerous political and 
moral reforms. The Klan did not affect much of this coopera- 
tion. Since, for example, the Klan was not interested in nor, 
in the minds of Catholics, associated with welfare work such as 
Red Cross and community chests, both Catholics and Protestants 
continued to work together in this type of activity. The Klan 
movement did result in a definite withdrawal of Catholic co- 
operation in other lines of work. In poHtics it has already been 
noted how religious affiliations became more important than eco- 
nomic or social issues, often dividing the population sharply into 
Catholic and Protestant groups. In the educational field the 
growth of the Klan resulted in a decrease in the cooperation which 
Catholics gave to the public school system. 

It likewise affected the Prohibition movement in which Cath- 
olics and Protestants had both been interested. Sponsored by 
organized religion because of its moral aspects, the campaign for 
prohibition was by no means simply a Protestant movement. The 
Catholic Church had built up a flourishing temperance organiza- 
tion and work was being done in many parishes especially among 
the young people. Rev. J. J. Curran, a prominent Pennsylvania 
Catholic, was one of those who had not only strongly supported 
the temperance movement within his own Church but, as vice- 
president of the Anti-Saloon League for twenty-five years, had 
actively supported its activities. In view of the fact that the 
majority of the Catholics in many parishes were families of im- 
migrants and that standards accepted for generations had to be 
broken down before new ideals of temperance and sobriety were 
acceptable, the task of Catholic prohibition workers was as dififi- 
cult as it was important. 

Describing some of the work they had done, Michael Williams, 
editor of Commonweal, lists, among other things, the following: 
"Thousands of reprints of an article by United States Senator 
Ransdell of Louisiana, a Catholic who favored prohibition, were 
circulated, together with a pamphlet entitled. The Catholic Clergy 
and the Solution, containing quotations from popes, archbishops, 
bishops, and priests. Some of these statements were simply 
strong pleas for temperance or total abstinence, both of which 
movements have always been supported strongly by the Catholic 

The Klan and the Church 


Church; while others again were outright endorsements of 

It was a movement which should have had the encouragement 
of all dry Klansmen but the stereotyped view of Catholics held 
by Klansmen blinded them to its very existence. Their mental 
association of the words "rum and Romanism" had been too 
firmly established. It is, of course, true that the Catholic Church 
had not made abstinence from intoxicants a prerequisite for 
salvation in the way that certain Calvinistic groups made it a 
sign of membership among the "elect." Klansmen, however, 
failed to recognize that the Catholic Church did consider in- 
temperance a social evil and had encouraged its eradication. 
Catholics were often condemned wholesale as opposed to pro- 
hibition and as violators of the Constitution, in contrast to which 
Klansmen boasted of the "pure Americanism" shown by their 
own support of the Eighteenth Amendment. 

It was inevitable that some of the violent dislike which Cath- 
olics had for the Klan would be transferred to the Klan's official 
prohibition attitude with a resultant relaxation in their support 
of the temperance movement. Such was actually the case. Pro- 
hibition workers among the Catholics found their task doubly 
hard and in many places abandoned it altogether. 


\- ^L?ffiTKran%'".le looZ'^K^'hu. Klan Press, p. 2. 

3. Ibid p. 14. 

4. Ibid p. 16. 

5. Ibid p. 19. 

6. Ibid p. 40. 

8.' p'r'oceedings of tht Second Imperial Klonvokation. p. 55. 

16 Testimony of I. A. Kelley, Scnttdale Klan No. 32. 

17 -ThrKlan: Protestantism's Ally." Kourier Magazme, Aug. 1925. 

18. Personal interview with Dr. McDivitt. 

19. Personal interview with Dr. McDivitt. 

20. Personal interview with Dr. Urmy. Cf. Lit. Dig. 77/37 May 5, iV^i- 

21. Personal interview with Rev. F. R. Derit. , 

22. Michael Williams: "The Shadow of the Pope (N. Y. 1932) p. -iu?- 


The Klan and the Schools 

The "school question" which had been the most important issue 
in the nativist agitation of the 1840's and had been prominent 
in both the Know Nothing and the A. P. A. movements, was by 
no means overlooked when the Klan carried the banner of na- 
tivism in the 1920's. As in the earlier agitation, so in this last 
instance, the controversy was one phase of nativist opposition 
to the Catholic Church. One must be careful, however, not to 
be misled by Klan trumpetings against "the enemies of our pub- 
lic schools" and assume that Catholics who maintained their own 
parochial schools opposed free public education. The question 
was not whether there should be free schools maintained by 
public taxation. Catholics answered that query with as full- 
voiced an affirmative as did Protestant Klansmen. The dispute 
lay in the control of the education given in the free schools. 

The issue was often expressed as involving the abandonment 
or the preservation of the "American" principle of separation of 
church and state. Actually, of course, there was never a time 
in American history when this separation had been complete. 
It will be remembered, for instance, that while the maintenance 
of an established church by the Federal Government was pro- 
hibited by the Bill of Rights, its authors really expected the 
states to encourage Christianity. Some of them did continue to 
maintain established churches for many years and church prop- 
erty is still free from taxation in many of them. Applied to the 
public schools, separation of church and state would not be 
complete unless all religious instruction was eliminated. Prot- 
estant Klansmen out to put the Bible into the schools were as 
hostile to that as were devout Catholics. Warning against the 
materialistic emphasis in education and pointing to the fate of 
Rome, the author of an ofiicial Klan pamphlet wrote : "The im- 

The Klan and the Schools 


portant question, the thing that most concerns us is, Are our 
children developing Christian character?"^ Obviously, Klans- 
men were not campaigning for "godless" schools in which re- 
ligious instruction was taboo. 

If, then, Klansmen were unwilling to carry out the logical im- 
plication of the principle of separation, several other alternatives 
were possible. Briefly outlined these were : 

1. Parochialism, i.e., separate denominational schools. 

(a) in which public funds would be distributed to various 
denominational schools in some such manner as m Eng- 
land and Holland, the State demanding the mamtenance 
of a certain standard of secular instruction m these 

schools; or , r \ t 

(b) in which the public schools were opened for the use ot 
Catholics and other religious groups after regular school 
hours for purposes of religious instruction, e.g., the 
Faribault plan. 

2. The "common school" which all children, regardless of re- 
ligious affiliation, must attend, 

(a) in which the religious instruction given was reduced to 
include only that common to all religious groups ; or 

(b) in which the majority of voters who controlled the 
school could introduce whatever religious instruction 
they might desire regardless of dissenting groups. 

Catholics had consistently favored the alternative of parochial- 
ism on the principle that "since education in the proper sense of 
the word is essentially a spiritual function, the control of edu- 
cation of (Catholic) children rests ultimately with the Church. 
This does not mean that the state had not the right to establish 
schools. But there is a great difference between estabHshing 
schools and educating, between erecting buildings, paying salaries 
and even compelling children to attend school and the actual work 
of education."- There is no doubt that J. A. Burns, President 
of Holy Cross College, in writing the statement just quoted, ex- 
pressed the official Catholic attitude. Dr. Brownson, one of the 
most respected CathoHc scholars of America, stated the point of 
view of his Church as clearly as anyone when he wrote : 

"All education, as all Hfe, should be religious, and all edu- 
cation divorced from religion is an evil and not a good . . . 
We deny the competency of the state to educate even for 

136 The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

its own order, its right to establish purely secular schools 
from which all religion is excluded ; . . . but we do not 
deny, we assert, rather, its right to establish public schools 
under the internal control and management of the spiritual 
society, and to exact that a certain amount of secular in- 
struction be given along with the religious education that 
society gives. 

Against this alternative of parochialism and especially against 
the assertion of the Catholic Church that education was "essen- 
tially a function of the spiritual society,"* the Klan was vigor- 
ously opposed. This claim of "the hierarchy," Klansmen as- 
serted, was motivated by its desire "to facilitate the spread and 
acceptance of its own sovereignty in every country affected, and 
finally throughout the world."° Klan hostility to parochialism, 
therefore, was apparently based upon a more fundamental issue 
than the use of public funds for private Catholic schools, how- 
ever much Klansmen talked about the principle of the separation 
of church and state. Even if the private maintenance of Catholic 
schools had been taken for granted and the question of securing 
public funds had never been raised, Klansmen would have con- 
tinued to oppose them because they felt that the "subversive" 
doctrine of the sovereignty and authority of the Catholic clergy 
was being inculcated in the minds of students who attended them. 
The high praise and eager support given to the unconstitutional 
Oregon school law requiring all children to attend public schools 
is proof of this Klan attitude. 

Not that the Klan opposed all parochial schools in Pennsyl- 
vania. No warning crosses were burned before private schools 
controlled by Protestant groups nor were their officials subjected 
to public criticism. The term "parochial" was synonymous with 
"Catholic" in Klan usage and it was as an alternative to Catholic 
schools that Klansmen advocated a single common (to all) public 
school system. 

Although it is doubtful whether Klansmen were really inter- 
ested in "American Principles" except as they could be made to 
safeguard nativist control, they were vigorous in asserting them. 
One of these principles which they discovered to be admirably 
suited to their school poHcy was that of "democratic control." 
It was "American," they believed, to have education placed in 

The Klan and the Schools 137 

the hands-theoretically, at least-of popular majorities rather 
than in those of an ecclesiastical officialdom either _ Catholic or 
Protestant. In areas like Oregon where popular majorities were 
definitely Protestant this principle did work quite satisfactorily. 

In usLg principle to support privilege the Klan was following 
a practice by no means rare in human history Apostolic suc- 
cession justification by faith and divine right of kings had simi- 
larly served the interests of popes, protesters and monarchs. 
One need but mention such principles as legitimacy, laissez-faire, 
sound money, national self-determination, and security to be 
reminded that "principle" as well as "patriotism has proved a 
refuge for privileged groups, if not for scoundrels 

Generally however, privilege-seekers have had difficulty with 
principles. Finding them unequally useful in all situations, they 
have often been obliged to hedge and have opened themselves 
to the charge of hypocrisy. Business men have frequently suf- 
fered embarrassment in this regard. When threatened with so- 
cial legislation in behalf of their employees or the consuming 
public they have stoutly defended the principle that government 
should keep its hands out of business. Nevertheless they have 
held it to be perfectly legitimate for the government to enact 
protective tariffs and other regulatory legislation favorable to 
their interests. Similarly, Pennsylvania Klansmen who were in- 
terested in the supremacy of native Protestants and who con- 
sequently praised the principle of popular control of education 
in Oregon and other Protestant areas, found it undesirable to 
be consistent when Catholic districts voted control of the schools 
into the hands of Catholic directors. Some Klansmen, faced with 
the above dilemma, merely turned from the principle of popular 
control to that of separation of church and state, claiming that 
the latter applied in areas where Catholics were in the majonty. 

That some Klansmen were aware of another way out is shown 
by a few instances where they supported consolidation of school 
districts In certain areas of Western Pennsylvania, Catholics 
were largely segregated in the mining villages and in sections of 
the mill towns. Consolidation often meant the joimng of these 
Catholic islands with the heavily Protestant rural areas with the 
result that Protestant control was increased. The instances where 
the Klan supported consolidation were practically all of this nature 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

and there were a few cases where the local Klans opposed con- 
solidation because the resulting situation would have been re- 
versed." Thus Klansmen found in the manipulation of school 
districts a way to save the principle of popular control without 
the sacrifice of Protestant control. 

It was this same desire to preserve both principle and privi- 
lege which prompted the Klan to commit itself officially to the 
support of a Federal Department of Education with a cabinet 
secretary at its head and with wide supervisory powers over the 
nation's schools.* 

The widely circulated Klan pamphlet, The Public School 
Problem in America, in which Imperial Wizard Evans advocated 
this proposal, reveals the reasons prompting his action. While 
he was not unaware that "national aid" to America's public 
schools might mean a heavier subsidy for education in the im- 
poverished sections of the South and thus please southern Klans- 
men, the most obvious consideration that made him advocate cen- 
tralized educational control was the fact that Catholics were op- 
posed to it. "The hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church," he 
wrote, "stands against America on this issue." He asserted that 
the Church was hostile because such a Department would even- 
tually mean the closing of more than six thousand Catholic paro- 
chial elementary schools. Whether or not he exaggerated Cath- 
olic fear of increased federal control, it is clear that his support 
for it was largely based upon an analysis of the situation which 
can be summarized as follows : A growing Catholic population 
in certain sections of the United States threatened to place the 
control of the public schools of these areas in Catholic hands. 
The country as a whole, however, was still Protestant and Prot- 
estants consequently could still control federal policies. The 
time had come, therefore, to give the federal government more 
power over education. 

This discussion of principles was confined to those who had 
to answer for the Order and publicly defend it against hostile 
criticism. Most Pennsylvania Klansmen did not concern them- 

*This proposal had been advocated for some years by the National Educational Asso- 
ciation and had the support of such other groups as the Anaerican Federation of Labor, 
the General Federation of Women's Clubs and the League of Women Voters. It was 
put before Congress in the form of the Stirling-Towner Bill (later the Stirling-Reed Bill). 
The Klan supported these measures in its publications. 

The Klan and the Schools 


selves with underlying principles or worry about possible incon- 
sistencies. They were satisfied to know that the public schools 
which they and their parents before them had attended were 
considered "the Hope of the Nation and the Palladium of our 
Liberties"^ and that Catholics, where they possessed sufficient 
wealth, usually maintained separate schools of their own. 

A survey of the educational activities of the Klan in Pennsyl- 
vania shows that a public school was accepted by Klansmen as 
genuinely "American" if it met but four requirements. These 
requirements eloquently reveal the fact that Klansmen generally 
in Pennsylvania were recruited from the class of men who, while 
narrowly dogmatic with regard to certain externals, were easily 
satisfied if these were present. These criteria were (1) regular 
Bible reading as prescribed by law but made from an accepted 
Protestant edition of the scripture, (2) the prominent display 
of the American flag, (3) the absence of Catholics from the teach- 
ing staff, and (4) the absence of any recognized symbols of 
Catholic 'or foreign origin in the equipment or activities of the 
school. It is safe to say that few local Klans were disturbed about 
the public schools where these requirements were met. The ex- 
istence of short, eight-months school terms did not trouble them; 
inadequacies of curricula or of plant did not stimulate protesting 
Klan delegations to visit boards of directors; no crosses were 
burned or pressure put upon school officials in behalf of increased 
school budgets, more adequate teacher preparation, or the estab- 
lishment of kindergartens and evening classes for adults. Of 
course there were cases where local Klans actually supported con- 
structive educational programs. In Greensburg, for example, the 
Klan supported a bond issue for the erection of a new High 
School building which might otherwise have been defeated, but 
in this instance as in the cases previously cited where local 
branches of the Order supported consolidation, the initiative was 
not taken by the Klans. School authorities or other organizations 
took the lead and the Klan merely cooperated. 

The Order did take the initiative, however, in seeing that their 
four criteria of "American" public schools were maintained. In 
regard to daily Bible reading, specific cases of Klan action to 
enforce this requirement came to the attention of the county 
superintendents of education in only ten of the twenty-two coun- 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

ties surveyed but not all cases of this kind reached the ear of 
the county officials. There were a few instances where Protestant 
teachers were warned of laxness in this matter. Most of the 
cases, however, involved Catholic teachers, all of whom were 
suspected by Klansmen of un-American practices and were con- 
sequently watched. Protestant children in their class-rooms were 
used as informers and Klansmen were usually glad to find ir- 
regular practices which confirmed their suspicions and which 
made good propaganda for the teacher's dismissal. 

Since the Pennsylvania School Code required the reading of 
at least ten verses of scripture daily without comment, laxness 
in this regard was seized upon as a subject for protest to the 
local school authorities and as ground upon which to base a de- 
mand, if not for the teacher's immediate dismissal, at least for 
his meticulous observance of the law during the remainder of 
the school term and for his replacement the following year. 

While there was nothing in the law requiring the use of any 
specific translation of the Scripture, Klansmen had a decided 
prejudice against the "Catholic Bible." While most Klansmen 
had never seen a copy of the commonly used Rheims-Douay 
translation, and could not mention specific differences between it 
and the accepted Protestant versions, still they thought it "sub- 
versive" and "sectarian." Indeed, most Protestants shared this 
opinion and one of the quickest ways to turn the average Prot- 
estant community against a Catholic teacher and make his re- 
election impossible was to have the report spread that he was 
using "the Catholic Bible" in his school-room. 

A typical instance of Klan activity in connection with Bible 
reading happened in Donegal Township, Westmoreland County.* 
In one of the rural schools of that township the teacher was 
known to be a Catholic. The Klansmen decided to investigate. 
Several students whom they had selected as watchers reported 
that what they supposed to be the scripture reading was read 
from a book that wasn't the Bible and that the teacher always 
put the book she used in her desk where none of the students 
could see it. Klansmen immediately spread the news and visited 
the school board. Several school directors favored immediate 
dismissal. It was decided to ask the advice of the county school 
officials in Greensburg. The assistant superintendent to whom 

The Klan and the Schools 


the matter was referred, when he inquired about the proof avail- 
able to substantiate the charge, found that there was none except 
the statements of the school children. The local Klan promised 
to secure an investigating committee and sent to East Hunting- 
don Township for several Klansmen who were not known in 
Donegal. These visiting Klansmen and the assistant county 
superintendent paid an unannounced visit to the school-room of 
the teacher in question and listened to the opening exercise. True 
to the report, the book from which she read had colored board 
covers and in appearance was quite unlike the usual family Bible. 
The scripture passage read sounded authentic, however. In order 
not to make the object of their visit too obvious, the men re- 
mained during several class recitations. Meanwhile one of them 
casually asked to see the book from which the morning scripture 
had been read. To the amusement of the county of?icial and 
somewhat to the dismay of the Klansmen, it was found to be a 
little book of Bible Readings for Schools edited by a former 
(Protestant) State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Nathan 
C. Schaeffer. The fact that their concern proved unwarranted 
and the reported violation of the school law proved untrue did 
not embarrass the Donegal Klansmen. They achieved their 
purpose anyway for enough sentiment had been created in the 
township against the teacher that her re-election became in- 

If Protestants regarded the "Catholic Bible" as inaccurate 
and sectarian, it is equally true that Catholics were taught to 
consider the usual Protestant translations textually erroneous and 
unsafe. While most Catholic teachers in Protestant districts 
were careful not to disturb their patrons by using the transla- 
tion sanctioned by the Catholic Church, others preferred to do 
so even though a risk was involved. Two teachers employed in 
Collier Township, Allegheny County, illustrate the latter group. 
The school-room of one of these teachers was used as a voting 
place on election days. It was on such a day in 1924 that a 
Rheims-Douay edition of the Bible was discovered in the desk 
of this teacher. News of this discovery spread rapidly and the 
local Klan sent a committee to the school directors to make a 
strong protest. Sentiment against both Catholic teachers be- 
came so hostile that the directors knew it would mean their sub- 

142 The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

sequent defeat if they voted to re-employ them. Although guilty 
of no legal offense and rated among the best teachers of Alle- 
gheny County, they had no alternative except to seek employment 
in a district where Catholics were given an equal chance with 
Protestants for positions. But three such districts existed in 
Allegheny County outside the city of Pittsburgh when the Klan 
was at its height." 

School officials reported other instances varying but slightly 
from this in Adams, Armstrong, Centre, Chester, Clarion, Clin- 
ton, Dauphin, Juniata and Pike Counties. Although the total 
number of cases reported was not large, in a majority of the 
instances the services of the teachers involved were terminated 
at the close of the school term. In many local districts of the 
stale there were no Catholic teachers employed and Klansmen 
in these districts were denied the privilege of defending Amer- 
ican school children from "the servants of the Pope." As a 
substitute for that more exciting activity, perhaps, Klansmen 
presented Bibles to a few schools. The Women of the Ku Klux 
Klan, however, were more generous than the men's Order in 
this particular. 

While the insistence of Klansmen upon daily Bible reading 
was not without point as a means to preserve the Protestant 
tradition of the open Bible, still it is doubtful if many school 
children regarded it as such or were affected in their religious 
attitudes by this practice in the way Klansmen supposed. Many 
other things in the school program had a greater effect upon 
the spiritual development of the children than routine Bible 
reading. Klansmen gave little evidence, however, that they were 
aware of this and were seldom disturbed unless this all too 
superficial practice was omitted. 

In addition to their requirement of Bible reading they de- 
manded the presence of the country's flag in the "American" 
public school and usually took pains to see that it was promi- 
nently displayed. Here again Klansmen revealed their mental 
age by confining their attention largely to externals. Believing 
as did everyone else that the public schools should teach patriotism, 
they contented themselves by emphasizing the external rituals 
of flag raising and saluting and the practice of repeating the oath 
of allegiance. Most Klansmen distinguished not at all between 

The Klan and the Schools 


the symbols and the substance of patriotism or at least gave 
little outward evidence of such discrimination. They suspected 
anyone who questioned the great importance which they placed 
upon this ritualism in the making of patriots and thought of 
patriotism as the acceptance of such shibboleths as "love of 
liberty" and "loyalty to the past" and to "the Constitution." The 
Americanism of any who critically evaluated the nation's culture 
and policies and were discriminating in their praise of American 
tradition was suspected. Klansmen failed to recognize that people 
of widely varying ideas of what was good for the nation might 
all be sincerely loyal citizens and denied the patriotism of all 
whose ideas differed substantially from their own mental stereo- 

In their demand for the display of the American flag in the 
public schools the local Klans met with no opposition and had 
to get what satisfaction they could by donating flags to selected 
schools. One Exalted Cyclops^* in the Cumberland Valley boasted 
that his organization had set aside ten per cent of its income 
as a fund with which to purchase flags and an occasional Bible. 
When new buildings were being dedicated, Klansmen usually 
tried to get a place on the dedicatory program by offering to 
donate an American flag. There were many cases where this 
was done, often with appropriate remarks about one hundred 
per cent Americanism, and always with the hope that the students 
over whom it would wave might remember the Order which 
made the presentation. 

Rarely was there as much emotional excitement connected with 
these flag raisings as with activities which aroused opposition 
although Klansmen were considerably stirred in Adams and sur- 
rounding counties over the refusal of one teacher who was op- 
posed to the Order to use a flag which had been donated by the 
local Klan." Another exception to these usually uneventful 
ceremonies occurred in Slocum Township, Luzerne County, where 
a near riot was precipitated when anti-Klan elements resisted the 
participation of robed Klansmen in a school dedication.^^ Of 
the thirteen counties in which Klan flag donations were reported 
by school officials," Washington County had the largest number. 
Chester County had but one such event. The practice itself, while 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

resulting in some publicity for the Order, lacked sufficient thrill 
to be popular. Moreover, presentable flags were expensive. 

Another external criterion of an authentic American public 
school as defined by the Klan was the absence of Catholics upon 
its teaching staff. This opposition of Klansmen to Catholic 
teachers was apparently due less to religious than to patriotic 
considerations. Teachers who accepted the claims of an ecclesias- 
tical hierarchy which, according to Klansmen, asserted the right 
"to think for mankind" and to turn people into "puppets in- 
stead of independent and self-governing minds"" were held to 
be poor defenders of democratic government, poor guardians of 
American liberties. Klansmen admitted that not all Catholic 
teachers were teaching "dangerous and subversive doctrines." 
When questioned by the writer regarding specific Catholic teach- 
ers in their own communities Klansmen usually had no proof 
that anything undesirable was being taught. On the other hand, 
they asked. Why take the risk? The allegiance which faithful 
Catholics gave to their Church made them potentially dangerous. 
The complaint of these Klansmen was not that Catholics obeyed 
the voice of God rather than the command of the State when 
the two were in conflict. Protestants, too, had never been slow 
to violate civil laws that were in conflict with conscience. Indeed, 
Protestantism had survived largely by violation of early laws 
which required religious uniformity and which placed heavy penal- 
ties upon dissenters. Witness also the Protestant abolitionists 
who violated the fugitive slave laws which they considered iniqui- 
tous. The danger was not in obedience to God rather than to 
man. It lay in the fact that pronouncements which Klansmen 
were sure had originated in Rome were believed by Catholics to 
have originated in Heaven. 

This difiPerence was basic and insurmountable. The doctrine 
of an authoritative Church or teaching hierarchy headed by the 
Pope, established by God to transmit inerrant truth lay at the 
heart of Catholicism and was rejected completely by most of the 
Protestant sects which, even if holding to the doctrine of an 
inerrant Bible, were necessarily obliged to fall back upon the 
consensus of opinion of their communicants for its interpretation. 
So fundamental was this dii¥erence in its efifect not only upon 
church organization but, by inference, upon people's attitudes 

The Klan and the Schools 


toward all democratic institutions that Catholics had found it 
virtually impossible to secure teaching positions in strongly Prot- 
estant communities even before the Klan was organized. In 
Juniata County, for instance, there had been but two Catholic 
teachers prior to the Klan. In York County there had seldom 
been more than six ; in Franklin County, rarely more than eight ; 
in Dauphin County, rarely more than three and in Cumberland 
County seldom even that many. 

When Catholic teachers with high professional ratings were dis- 
missed because of Klan hostility to their religious affiliation as 
in the Collier Township instance mentioned above, school officials 
often tried to locate them in other less hostile districts. The re- 
sult was that in a large part of the state the percentage of 
Catholic teachers employed did not vary appreciably from 1921 
to 1932." This was true even in Allegheny County with its 
numerous Klans and mixed Catholic-Protestant population. The 
same was true in Carbon County in spite of its mining villages 
with Catholic populations. In Mifflin County there was no varia- 
tion nor was there in Clarion, Washington and Bedford Counties. 
In York County Catholic teachers remained five in number during 
most of the period. Berks County is typical of a group of 
counties in which Catholic teachers varied by two or three from 
year to year but this had been characteristic of these counties 
long before the Klan had come into them. In Westmoreland 
County, while the number of Catholic teachers hired during the 
period of Klan ascendancy was substantially smaller, by 1932 the 
percentage was practically the same as it had been in 1921. 
Although this survey of the counties is not complete, it is a 
sufficiently wide sampling to show that while the Klan undoubt- 
edly did have a temporary effect in tightening the religious lines 
on the question of employing Catholic public school teachers and 
in changing somewhat the distribution of Catholic teachers, it 
altered very little the number employed within the state as a 

As a final safeguard of the public schools Klansmen insisted 
that there be no symbols of popery or "alienism" flouted before 
American school children. Belonging to an "invisible empire" 
with secret signs and passwords and exposed to a propaganda 
which surrounded them with un-American influences, the more 

146 The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

excitable Klansmen can be understood if not excused when they 
imagined that they saw many evidences of the secret plotting 
of their opponents and struck more or less blindly at them. 
Illustrative of their nervous suspicion was their excitement over 
the engraving resembling a cross on one corner of an issue of 
United States currency which became to them prima facie evi- 
dence that the Pope was influential in the national government. 
The hasty inference that the editors of the Literary Digest were 
Catholics because they had repeated "the wild-eyed charges" of 
Klan guilt in the Mer Rouge murders of 1923 and gave no 
prominence to the later grand jury exoneration is another in- 
stance. Quite similar was the opposition of the Uniontown Klan 
to the use of a textbook in the schools of that place because it 
contained a design which they believed was symbolic of the 
supremacy of the Roman Church. In New Kensington a protest 
was lodged by the local Klan against the use of An American 
History by D. S. Muzzey on the allegation that Professor 
Muzzey had called Washington a rebel. A few other histories 
suffered Klan criticism because their authors had given aid or 
comfort to Catholics and foreigners." Of the instances reported, 
there were less than four per cent where the criticism resulted 
in a change of textbook although in Uniontown Superintendent 
of Schools Proctor was obliged to withdraw because, in part, he 
had opposed the Klan in this matter. 

One of the most humorous instances of this type of Klan ac- 
tivity occurred in Greensburg. In the high school building was 
hung a large reproduction of the Doge, the well-known portrait 
by Bellini. To Klansmen familiar with occasional pictures of 
Pius XI in the rotogravure sections of the Sunday newspaper, 
the Doge, garbed in the flowing robes of an Italian prince of the 
fifteenth century, looked suspiciously like a Catholic churchman. 
The rumor spread that it was a picture of one of the Popes and 
that Catholics were secretly exulting in that fact. The local 
Klan took action and notified school officials of their disapproval 
of the portrait and asked that it be removed. Assured that they 
were mistaken about the identity of the painting, they were still 
suspicious. Work of art or no work of art, pope or no pope 
they asked that it come down. The High School principal 
obliged them and the portrait was finally taken to the office of 

The Klan and the Schools 


the Superintendent of Schools where fewer people would look 
upon it as a subtle means of influencing young people to honor 
the Roman Church." 

The chief educational result of the Ku Klux Klan in Penn- 
sylvania was its effect not upon the public schools and their 
students but upon the Klansmen themselves. The minds of these 
men were focused for a considerable period upon the old nativist 
subjects, particularly upon the threat of Rome. The old charges 
were all repeated, the old fears again revived increasing in con- 
viction with every repetition. Not only was the cumulative effect 
of the rehearsal of the private fears of individual Klansmen upon 
the group as a whole productive of this result but the encourage- 
ment given by the national officials considerably enhanced it. 

The Imperial ofifice maintained a national lecture bureau begin- 
ning in March of 1924 which in five months had provided speakers 
who gave a total of 197,764 addresses to men and 21,255 to 
women and mixed audiences," of which Pennsylvania received its 
share. After 1924 this lecture bureau was absorbed in a National 
Department of Education and Publicity which not only continued 
to maintain speakers in the state but edited the official Klan 
periodicals and prepared lectures to be read in the local Klaverns. 
It had an ambitious program of activities but it proved so ex- 
pensive that it was soon curtailed. Only one series of lectures, 
nine in number, on "The Fundamentals of Citizenship"^^ was 
written and either they had a very narrow distribution in Penn- 
sylvania or the memory of Klansmen is poor for few had even 
heard of them. An official periodical was published for distribu- 
tion in the state called The Keystone American but in spite of 
official insistence.^" so few Klansmen subscribed that it was 
soon discontinued. Attention was then centered upon the publica- 
tion of the national monthly Kourier Magazine which was en- 
larged to include news items from each of the realms in the 
empire. It continued to be published during the entire period 
from the time of its establishment to the present (1936). While 
it was more conservatively edited than the radical Fellowship 
Forum to which many Pennsylvania Klansmen had subscribed, 
nevertheless the type of material it printed undoubtedly magnified 
the differences between Protestants and Catholics, natives and 
foreign-born and made it more difficult to secure that practical 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

working compromise which was necessary as long as they lived 
together. Seeds were generously sown for another outburst of 
nativist activity if circumstances ever again became propitious. 


1. "The Obligation of American Citizens to Free Public Schools." Title Page con- 
taining "With the compliments of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan." No Date; p. 3. 

2. Quoted in Garrison's; "Catholicism and the American Mind." (Chicago, 1928) 
p. 137. 

3. Brownson, O. A.: "Brownson's Views" p. 64. 

4 Burns J. H. ; "Growth and Development of the Catholic School System in the 
United States" (N. Y. 1917) p. 222. 

5. Evans, H. W.: "The Public School Problem in America." No date. 

6. Instances where the Klan favored consolidation in Washington County were re- 
ported by S. v. Kimberland ; in Clarion County, by N. E. Heeter ; Superintendent G. 
C. Brosius reported that the Klan opposed consolidation in sections of Clinton County. 

7. "The Church of Rome in American Politics." Small Klan folder, undated. 

8. Two members of the committee who visited the school reported the incident to the 

9. Ass't Supt. S. H. Replogle, of Allegheny County, who reported this mcident said 
that the Klan did little more than intensify the anti-Catholic feeling which had long 
existed in large areas of that county. 

10. Mr. Klapper, for several years Exalted Cyclops of Shippensburg Klan. 

11. The school referred to is Ortana, located near Gettysburg. Mr. Klapper is the 
authority for the incident. 

12. Reported by Dr. Lee Driver, Director of School Consolidation of the State Depart- 
ment of Public Instruction. 

13. Armstrong, Adams, Allegheny, Bedford, Berks, Cameron, Chester, Clarion, Dauphin, 
Juniata, Lackawanna, Luzerne and Washington Counties. 

14. "The Obligation of American Citizens to Free Public Schools" pp. 14, 15. 

15. This information was secured by means of a questionnaire filled in by the County 
Superintendents of Education or their assistants in each of the counties named. 

16. These history texts were: 

Hall, J.: Our Ancestors in Europe. 

McLaughlin & VanTyne- A History of the United States for Schools. 
Guitteau, W. B.: Our United States Hisfory. 

Atkinson: An Introduction to American History: European Beginnings. 

17. Reported by Superintendent March of the Greensburg Schools. 

18. Proceedings of the Second Imperial Klonvokation, pp. 208-209. 

19. The "Kourier Magazine," December, 1924, p. 9. 

20. Minutes of the State Klorero, Dec. 6, 1924, p. 8. 


The Women of the Ku Klux Klan 

As the success of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan made it 
apparent that the time was ripe for a new nativist movement, it 
was almost inevitable that an attempt would be made to organize 
the "ladies" as well as the "knights." Indeed, at the first Imperial 
Klonvokation in November of 1922, the "Knights" raised and dis- 
cussed the question of sponsoring an official women's order. Evi- 
dence was presented that haste would be required if serious com- 
petition was to be avoided for already numerous eft'orts were 
being made to get such an organization under way. 

It would have been easier to have recognized one of these 
established groups but, feeling that some prestige might be lost 
from the fact that the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan had not 
been its originator, it was decided not to "recognize, aid or assist" 
any existing women's nativist society. Instead, a committee was 
appointed to investigate the possibility of fostering a new order 
which would combine as many of the others as possible but which 
Klansmen could claim to have been instituted and officially en- 
dorsed by their own Order. 

The committee thus established asked the existing women's 
groups to send representatives to a conference in Washington in 
June, 1923 to consider the advisability of combining their efforts 
in such a new Klan-sponsored order. Some of them came and 
after balancing older loyalties against the practical advantage of 
having the active aid of a large and growing men's organization, 
it was voted to prepare a petition asking the Knights of the Ku 
Klux Klan for the right to use its name and as much of its con- 
stitution and ritual as they might wish in the formation of a new 
women's order. The Imperial Kloncilium of the Klan, con- 
veniently meeting at the same time and place, granted the petition 
and promised the hearty cooperation and support of the men's 

Chartered shortly thereafter in the state of Arkansas under the 
name of "Women of the Ku Klux Klan," the Order adopted with 

150 The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

minor modifications the constitution of the men's Order as well as 
a ritual practically identical with that of their sponsor. Mrs. 
Lulu A. Markwell became the chief executive officer with the 
title of Imperial Commander. 

Organizers were immediately put in the field on the same com- 
mission basis as were the men's Kleagles. The initial donation 
was five dollars — only half that collected from the men. Four 
dollars was kept in the State and was divided between the Kleagle 
in charge and her subordinates. The remaining dollar of each 
donation was sent to maintain the national headquarters at Little 
Rock, Arkansas. Beginning without funds, the Women of the 
Ku Klux Klan enjoyed for some time a subsidy from the men's 
Order to meet the expenses of propagation. It was not long, 
however, until the Little Rock headquarters was showing a profit. 
The first financial statement made public to the men's Order on 
September 25, 1924, showed cash in bank to the amount of $136,- 
767 and an additional $60,433 in real estate and other tangible 

Considerable attention was given to the task of getting as many 
other women's nativist societies as possible to merge themselves 
in this new organization. The investigating committee set up 
by the men's Order in 1922 had found over a score of these 
societies in existence. One of the most important was the women's 
order which Colonel W. J. Simmons had sponsored. The open 
hostility which broke out between the Evans and the Simmons 
factions within the men's order added an extra impetus to Evans 
and his followers in their efifort to absorb the women's organiza- 
tion of their rival, and much money was put into the enterprise. 

The women of the Ku Klux Klan experienced a struggle for 
the control of the national office somewhat similar to that which 
disturbed the men's organization. Mrs. Markwell, the first Im- 
perial Commander, was annoyed with a growing factionalism 
among her subordinates — allegedly stimulated by certain imperial 
officers of the men's Order who wished to have more control 
over her office.^ Her duties became so unpleasant that she finally 
consented to resign. On February 16, 1924, Miss Robbie Gill, 
who had served under Mrs. Markwell as Secretary of the Order,* 

*It will be remembered that H. W. Evans who replaced W. J. Simmons as Imperial 
Wizard of the Men's Order, had likewise been Secretary of the Order under Colonel 

The Women of the Ku Klux Klan 


was elevated to the office of Commander over the head of Miss 
Cloud who had been Vice-Commander and who expected to com- 
plete the unexpired term of Mrs. Markwell. Miss Cloud chal- 
lenged Miss Gill's right to the office of Commander and the matter 
was not settled until it had been taken to the civil court. The 
outcome was that Miss Gill continued as the chief executive. 
This was satisfactory to the men's Order for Miss Gill, who was 
soon to become the wife of J. A. Comer, a prominent member 
of the Executive Council of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, 
was more amenable to suggestions of that body than her com- 
petitor for the office would have been. 

Organizers were first sent into the strongest Klan states im- 
mediately after the chartering of the Women's Order. In Penn- 
sylvania, recruiting began in 1924 although it was not until Jan- 
uary of the following year that the Order was recognized as an 
incorporated institution by the State and was granted the legal 
right to operate as such within the Commonwealth. Mrs. Mary 
I. Goodwin was made Major Kleagle in charge of organizing the 
state and established her first headquarters in Pittsburgh. The 
Knights of the Ku Klux Klan were asked to cooperate. Sam D. 
Rich, Grand Dragon of the men's order and A. L. Cotton, one 
of his chief recruiting officers, were glad to do so for a consider- 
ation. When the agreement was reached, specifying that each 
of them would receive one dollar for every Klanswoman who came 
into the Order through their office, they sent word to all their 
klaverns urging the men to encourage establishment of this 
woman's official branch of the Klan by bringing their own women 
folk into it. Apparently their effort was fruitful for, as Mr. 
Cotton later remarked, "It was some of the easiest money I ever 

In return for this cooperation, Mrs. Goodwin, when she selected 
her own Kleagles to work on a commission basis, appointed the 
wives of many of the prominent Klan officials. Mrs. A. L. 
Cotton, for example, was chosen and with little effort turned in 
the names and klectokens of many wives and sisters of the men 
whom her husband had recruited for the men's organization, keep- 
ing, of course, the tvv'o dollar commission per member to swell 
the family income. Mrs. William Davis likewise followed her 
husband into Westmoreland and Fayette Counties. Many Exalted 

152 The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

Cyclops of influence, when the Realm office urged the establish- 
ment of the women's Order, worked their wives into positions as 
local Kleagles. 

It was of first importance to keep the good will of the leaders 
of the men's Order, for when their friendship was lost, as hap- 
pened in several instances, their hostility spread to the local klan- 
tons with the result that recruiting in these areas was seriously 
hindered. When, after paying commissions to Rich and Cotton 
for over a year, Mrs. Goodwin decided to discontinue this prac- 
tice and handle all the recruiting through her own Kleagles, the 
men's office suddenly lost its interest in the women's Order. Even 
the tactful appointment of women relatives as Kleagles did not 
altogether renew it. More ill will was engendered when, in an 
effort to increase funds which were available for her to use, 
Mrs. Goodwin attempted to reduce the amount of commission 
which these same relatives received as Kleagles. In Philadelphia, 
Mrs. Daisy Douglas Barr had been authorized to establish a re- 
cruiting office. Mrs. Barr had been a very successful Kleagle 
in Indiana and the national office had rewarded her with a fresh 
field in which to work. Mrs. Goodwin was also obliged to give 
her one dollar commission on each member brought in under 
her direction. 

Besides the personal appeals of the Kleagles, many public micet- 
ings were held to attract women who might not otherwise have 
been interested in the Order. Several of the lecturers used most 
frequently were men who had been prominent in the men's Order. 
One of them, Judge Orbison, was an imperial officer of that 
Order. Another, Rev. J. R. Clark, of Pittsburgh, had been the 
first minister in the state to become a Klan lecturer. The danger 
of the Catholic hierarchy to American institutions was the most 
popular and effective subject used to arouse their audiences, and 
occasional addresses by alleged ex-nuns were sponsored by the 
Order. It was found advisable, however, to discontinue using 
ex-nuns in communities where there was a considerable Catholic 
population and where the Protestant group was fairly well in- 

The activities of the Women of the Ku Klux Klan paralleled 
closely those of the men's Order. In political affairs, the Klans- 
women generally did not take the initiative in the choice of can- 

The Women of the Ku Klux Klan 


didates or in the planning of campaigns. They usually followed 
the advice of the men and there were many political observers who 
thought that Klanswomen could be relied upon to vote as a bloc 
with more assurance than could Klansmen. Certainly the women's 
Klaverns were invaded as often as were the men's by hopeful 
candidates who, if they satisfied the racial, national, and denomi- 
national requirements which the Klan had set up, were given full 
opportunity to play upon the nativist sympathies of the women 
which they usually did to the neglect of every other issue. While 
this was not always effective, it sometimes resulted in the election 
of unscrupulous candidates simply because they were white, na- 
tive-born Protestants. In Fayette County, for instance, there was 
elected as sheriff a man whose general moral and civic qualifica- 
tions were of the lowest and who, while in office, turned out to 
be one of the worst criminals who ever disgraced that county. 
Without question he won the election only because Klansmen and 
Klanswomen had allowed nativist prejudice to obscure more im- 
portant considerations. 

Religiously, the Women of the Ku Klux Klan had less in- 
fluence upon the organized church than had the men's Order. 
While it participated in church visitations, it was not as hungry 
for publicity as the men's Order primarily because it was not 
obliged to do so to get the attention of those whom it wished to 
recruit. Most of the visitations, therefore, were cooperative enter- 
prises only, in which the initiative was taken by the Klansmen. 

The educational activities of the women's Order were limited 
chiefly to its own members and came not directly as a planned 
program of the state or national office, but indirectly as a by- 
product of the lectures which the women attended in their recruit- 
ing campaigns and the gossip to wliich they listened in Klavern 
meetings. There was no official magazine published by 'the 
women's Order. Klanswomen were urged, however, as were the 
Klansmen, to read and distribute such publications as The Fel- 
lowship Forum. The women's Klan, initiated in Pennsylvania 
almost three years later than the men's, was still busy with the 
problem of recruiting more members when the organization began 
to disintegrate. So busy were its leaders in enlisting women in 
what was to be a great patriotic, educational, and religious cru- 
sade, that the crusade itself had hardly been started, — indeed had 

154 The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

hardly been conceived of except in the broadest general terms, — 
when internal dissention absorbed its energies and rapidly caused 
its destruction. 

While the foregoing is true in regard to the political, religious 
and educational phases of their work, there was one activity in 
which the Klanswomen were relatively successful, namely, in their 
charities. Locall}', the women's Klaverns generally, in proportion 
to their numbers, were more active in distributing food and 
raising money for needy people, than were the men. Collectively 
the Klanswomen initiated and carried to successful completion the 
establishment of a Klan orphanage named Pennsylvania Klan 
Haven. Mrs. Mary Goodwin, the first state Commander, was 
especially interested in the project. On several occasions she ad- 
vanced her own private funds to meet obligations on the property 
when the limited resources of the Order were insufficient. 

The property as originally purchased, comprised an estate of 
twenty-three and a fraction acres, part of which was woodland 
and part fruit trees, located east of Harrisburg. On it also stood 
a commodious stone house and a substantial barn. Klanswomen 
were told that the owner of this property had had an offer of 
$100,000 made to him by a Catholic priest but preferred to sell 
it to the Klan for $55,000. Of this price a down payment of 
$5,000 was made and the balance was divided into installments. 
The orphanage had the approval of the Pinchot administration 
which issued a charter to operate the institution under the cor- 
porate name of Klan Haven Association. 

The Association functioned through its own Board of Directors, 
secretary, treasurer, matron, and caretaker. Money raised in the 
various women's Klans over the state was sent directly to the 
treasurer of the Association whose accounts were regularly 
audited and checked by Mrs. Goodwin's office. The Klanswomen 
over the state undertook the maintenance of Klan Haven with 
considerable enthusiasm. Over forty children were soon placed 
there, some being privately maintained, some being placed there 
by court order and kept at public expense, and others being sup- 
ported entirely through Klan benevolence. Meetings were held 
by the women for the specific purpose of raising funds for Klan 
Haven. Visitations were made to the grounds in order to in- 
crease interest in the institution and many gifts of food and cloth- 

The Women of the Ku Klux Klan 


ing for the children were collected in the local Klaverns over the 
state and brought to Harrisburg. 

Much gloom was thrown over the enterprise when the stone 
dwelling which housed the children accidentally caught on fire 
and burned on November 21, 1926. This made it necessary to 
rent quarters where the forty-six children who were being cared 
for at the time of the fire might be kept. A building called "Old 
Colonial Inn," on the river front north of Harrisburg was finally 
secured for this purpose. The insurance on the burned building 
was sufficient to permit the payment of a $15,000 indebtedness 
which remained against the property. With this paid and with 
what was left of Klan Haven free of encumbrance, the women 
set to work immediately to raise sufficient funds to rebuild. 

Those in charge of the men's Order who had been urged to 
aid in the support of Klan Haven from the time of its charter- 
ing had been half-hearted in their cooperation. This was chiefly 
because Mrs. Goodwin had not consented to their request that 
the men's Order be given joint control of the Association. The 
men had held that they should be represented on the Board of 
Directors if they contributed toward its support. Mrs. Goodwin 
wished Klan Haven to remain an institution managed by the 
women's Order and held out stubbornly against what she felt was 
an effort on the part of a few of the men in authority to get 
control of the funds of Klan Haven Association. In addition to 
this danger, Mrs. Goodwin had to contend with what was ap- 
parently a determined effort by a group within her own national 
organization to force this joint control above mentioned and, what 
was even worse in her judgment, to have the title to the property 
surrendered to the national organization as soon as it had been 
fully paid for by the state. 

That Mrs. Goodwin was justified in her fears was amply proved 
by subsequent events. When she refused to comply with the 
wishes of the men's Order and of her own national office, steps 
were taken to remove her from her position as head of the Penn- 
sylvania office. James A. Comer who, as husband of the Imperial 
Commander of the Women of the Ku Klux Klan and as Imperial 
Klonsel for the Order, was virtually dictating its policies, took 
the lead in ousting Mrs. Goodwin. She was subjected to a bar- 
rage of criticism from the national office. She was charged with 

156 The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

accepting gifts, a practice which, she was told, the national office 
had ruled against, even though Mrs. Comer herself had accepted 
them.^ She was censured for delay in chartering Klans in the 
state* even though she was instructed not to send in applications 
for charters until the local membership of these Klans was ten 
per cent of the population of the area involved. Indeed, the na- 
tional office had sent Mrs. Claudia Goodrich (a sister of H. W. 
Evans) into Pennsylvania to take charge of this work. Mrs. 
Goodwin was given contradictory orders and charged with the 
misuse of funds. When in October, 1926, she offered her 
resignation to Mrs. Comer, it was not accepted but several months 
later her successor. Miss Martha Turnley, was appointed and sent 
into the state to help destroy Mrs. Goodwin's influence among the 
membership of the Order several weeks before Mrs. Goodwin 
was notified that her resignation had finally been accepted. 

Mrs. Goodwin's removal took place in January, 1927. On 
April 22 following, the Board of Directors of Klan Haven As- 
sociation met and had present as "advisers" James A. Comer; a 
representative of the men's Order, Mr. C. B. Lewis; the two 
attorneys of the Association ; and Mr. James Colescott of "Judge" 
Comer's stafif. After these "advisers" had given a lengthy ex- 
planation of the great program of the national office to establish 
a uniform system of Klan Havens in all the states, the Board 
was led to adopt this alleged- national policy and voted to re- 
constitute the personnel of the Board of Directors.^ As re- 
organized, the Board of Directors was to consist of the Imperial 
Representative of the women's Order and the Grand Dragon of 
the men's Order as ex-officio members, six representatives of the 
men's Order (one from each Province) to be elected at their 
annual Klorero and similarly chosen provincial representatives 
from the women's Order. 

A Committee was appointed and empowered to draw up a new 
constitution and laws in accordance with this decision and, if 
necessary, secure such changes in the charter as would permit 
this organization. 

In defense of this new arrangement, it was explained that every 
Klansman and Klanswoman would thus actually become a member 
of Klan Haven Association and be represented on the Board of 
Directors. Actually, however, such an arrangement would have 

The Women OF THE Ku Klux Klan 157 

resulted in the men's Order getting control. For, while the men's 
Order had already developed the provincial organization referred 
to the women's Order had no provinces organized m the state 
and had no assurance that the national office would approve their 
establishment at this time. As actually set up, the Board of 
Directors of the Association did include the heads of the men s 
and women's Orders but substituted the first five grand officers 
of each organization in place of the provincial representatives. 

The difficulties which were experienced in the Klan Haven 
affair were but one evidence of the growing dissatisfaction withm 
the women's Order which, in January' of 1927, resulted m the 
secession of the important Philadelphia and Chester Klaverns 
from the national organization and which eventually led to the 
disruption of the women's movement in eastern Pennsylvania. 

The heart of the trouble was the inability of the state and 
local organizations to get a satisfactory hearing when they dis- 
agreed with the policies of their national office or to get redress 
when they felt aggrieved. Like the men's organization, the Con- 
stitution of the Women of the Ku Klux Klan had set up a 
military type of government for the Order, with power highly 
centralized in the national executive officers. After Robbie Gill s 
election to the position of Imperial Commander, the Order rapidly 
fell under the domination of James A. Comer and a few other high 
officials of the men's Order who gave orders to the women almost 
as freely as if they had had the constitutional right to do so.** 

This interference of the men was resented by many of the 
women in the Order. Glad for the cooperation of the Knights 
of the Ku Klux Klan, the women were angered by what they felt 
was an attempt of the men to dictate to them and to exploit them. 
The Women of the Ku Klux Klan was set up as an autonomous 
Order and they wished to have it remain so. The kind of diffi- 
culties from which the local women's Klaverns suffered can be illus- 
trated by the experiences of the Canwin Klan of Philadelphia, the 
largest*** and most important, perhaps, in eastern Pennsylvania. 

• men this Board of Directors organized in July 1927. it is '° ,°''th?'offic« 

issued only by the proper women officials. 

«**When chartered, in December, 1926, its membership was 1,400, 

158 The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

Mrs. Pearl Cantey was the organizer and executive head of this 
Klan. The corresponding officer in the men's organization was 
Paul M. Winter, field representative in charge of the Philadelphia 
County Klaverns. On one occasion both the men's and women's 
organizations had arranged to charter a boat for a trip down the 
Delaware with the hope of clearing a profit from the sale of 
tickets. This was done and from the crowded condition of the 
boat, the sale of tickets was apparently successful. When the 
time came to divide the profit, however, the women felt that the 
men deliberately cheated them. The women's record book of 
ticket sales was returned with pages torn out in order to make 
an accounting of the amount due them impossible. Moreover, 
the men alleged that many persons had gotten aboard the boat 
without tickets and that some of the men who had been given 
books of tickets to sell had lost them.® 

On another occasion a hall was secured for a joint meeting of 
the men and women with the understanding that both organiza- 
tions would share alike in the expenses. After the women had 
paid their share to Mr. Winter, who had made the financial ar- 
rangements, they learned that he had represented the expense of 
securing the auditorium as double its actual cost so that the 
women had paid the entire bill instead of their proportionate 

More important than this financial exploitation in estranging 
the men's and women's Orders in Philadelphia was the case of 
Klansman Charles Lawrence who was charged with immoral re- 
lations with two Klanswomen. Paul Winter himself had come to 
Mrs. Cantey's office to lodge the charge against the women. Mrs. 
Cantey agreed to investigate and subsequently suspended both the 
women, one of whom confessed her misconduct. Expecting of 
course that Mr. Winter would take similar action against the 
Klansman involved, Mrs. Cantey and the members of her organi- 
zation were angered to learn that he had taken no action against 
Lawrence but had, instead, elevated him to the office of County 
Treasurer of his Order. 

With many comparable local irritations to make the women 
doubt the good will, if not of the majority of Klansmen, at least 
of their leaders, the situation became intolerable when members 
of the men's Order began to interfere in the internal affairs of 

The Women of the Ku Klux Klan 159 

the women's Order itself. The change in Imperial Commanders 
when Mrs. Markwell was replaced by Miss Robbie Gill, although 
undoubtedly engineered by certain officials of the men's Order and 
although somewhat irregular, was not a very disturbing element 
in Pennsylvania. Miss Gill was personally quite an attractive 
woman. Most of the state leaders who had had any contact 
with her were charmed by her manner and address. The fact 
that Mrs. Barr, whose methods many felt had been questionable, 
was associated with the Markwell regime helped make the change 
to Miss Gill acceptable in this state. Moreover, Mrs. Goodwm, 
who had held the office of state organizer under Mrs. Markwell, 
continued in office ; her conduct of affairs was approved and her 
territory was extended to include New York state. After the 
marriage of Miss Gill, however, her husband, James A. Comer, 
became increasingly active in Pennsylvania affairs. When it be- 
came apparent that this individual, under the title of Imperial 
Klonsel, was attempting to get Klan Haven out of the control of 
Mrs. Goodwin and her supporters, and when, in addition, it be- 
came evident that he was determined to remove Mrs. Goodwin 
from office, resentment against this male interference and^ against 
the national office in general increased to sizable proportions. 

The Pennsylvania women who attended the national Klonvoka- 
tion held at Detroit in 1926, found the gathering virtually domi- 
nated by this same James A. Comer and his colleague, James 
Orbison, who sat on the platform and managed the procedure, 
"putting the motions, snapping their fingers and rushing things 
through.'"^ The chief business of this meeting was the submission 
for approval of a revision of the Constitution of the women's 
Order broadening the power of the national executive particularly 
in the matter of the revocation of charters. 

An attempt was made to disqualify the hostile delegation which 
came to Detroit from Pennsylvania on the ground that they did 
not have the correct dues cards with them. A long discussion 
ensued in which the Pennsylvania representatives tried to gam 
their voting privileges by showing that the national office ^was 
really at fault. The new dues cards had not been sent out from 
Little Rock but instead, instructions had been given to use the 
old ones which they had brought. It was at this same meeting 
that sixteen of the Pennsylvania delegates had tried to secure an 

160 The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

interview with the Imperial Commander but, when they came 
for the interview, Mr. Comer himself was the only one who would 
see them. Completely disgusted, Mrs. Cantey, who had repre- 
sented her Philadelphia group, came home to describe the pro- 
ceedings and urge a withdrawal from the national organization. 

The difficulty which the Pennsylvania delegation had experi- 
enced at the Detroit Klonvokation was partly occasioned by the 
fact that Mr. James A. Comer's desire to remove Mrs. Goodwin 
was already known and the Philadelphia group, as well as of 
most of the Klans in the State, had come to support her. This 
support was further shown at the first state meeting called by 
Miss Turnley after her appointment and before Mrs. Goodwin 
had been officially notified of her own replacement. The Phila- 
delphia group led in the protest against what they considered an 
unfair dismissal. Comer had gone to Philadelphia and called Mrs. 
Cantey into conference on the evening preceding this meeting in 
an effort to get her promise not to oppose his plans, but his re- 
fusal to talk to her in the presence of the women she had brought 
along from her own organization and the fact that he left her 
waiting a long time before he chose to see her only served to add 
to the ill-will of the women. 

The result was that the next day at the State meeting Miss 
Turnley faced a hostile Philadelphia delegation. The demand 
was made that Mrs. Goodwin be brought in to receive a gift 
of flowers which the women wished to give her. An open pro 
test was lodged against Mr. Comer's presence in the meeting. It 
was pointedly asked how he got the pass word necessary for 
admittance since none but women could legally receive it. When 
he retorted that he had advanced some $8,000 to get the women's 
Order started and "owned it," the Philadelphia delegates left 
the meeting. They were persuaded to return by a request from 
Mrs. Goodwin herself. They came back only to be surprised and 
chagrined to hear Mrs. Goodwin's own resignation read to them. 
This was like having one's own general turn traitor. As Mrs. 
Cantey remarked, "Here we had been fighting for her against the 
attempt of the National to get her out and then she didn't have 
nerve enough herself to carry it through." At a general meet- 
ing of the Philadelphia Klan on January 22, 1927 the vote or; 

The Women of the Ku Klux Klan 


withdrawal was taken and passed with but one dissenting vote, 
a decision which the Chester Klan had taken the preceding day. 

For a time the women of the Philadelphia Klan continued to 
meet as "The Women's Christian Patriotic League" which Mrs. 
Cantey had chartered under her own name. Feeling ran so high 
for some months afterwards that she kept constant guards in her 
office to be secure against insult and possible raids upon her files. 

The men's organization had also begun to have serious internal 
strife which in Philadelphia and some western sections of the 
state was carried to the extreme of violence. In Philadelphia 
the revolt was chiefly against Paul M. Winter and his methods. 
In western Pennsylvania a group of leading Klansmen had been 
engaged in an attempt to secure Sam Rich's removal and to 
reform the state office. Klaverns took sides and worked against 
each other. In many instances factions developed within the local 
organizations and a rapid decline in membership and in activities 
had set in. 

Since most of the women's Klans consisted of wives and sisters 
of Klansmen, similar divisions inevitably grew in their organiza- 
tions with the same results. Inquiries made to Klanswomen in 
various sections of the state resulted in practically the same reply : 
"We broke up when the men did." A few women met in each 
other's homes a little while afterwards but they grew increasingly 


1 Report of T A. Comer to the Second Imperial Klonvokation of the Knights of the 
Ku Klux Klan, September 25, 1924. Proceedings p. 112 

2. Correspondence of Jessie Sauer to Mary I. Goodwin, February 29, 1924. 

3. Interview with Mrs. Pearl Cantey who served as Kleagle in Reading, then in Phila- 
delphia after Mrs. Barr's removal, and was later Excellent Commander of the 

4 One^ telegram signed by Tames A. Comer read: "DO YOU REFUSE TO COMPLY 

5. Extracts from the Bulletin of the Annual Meeting of Klan Haven Association, 
Harrisburg, Pa., April 22, 1927. 

6. Testimony of Mrs. Pearl Cantey. 

7. Report of Pearl Cantey to her Philadelphia Klan. 



The Decline of the Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania : 
Dissatisfaction in the Eastern Province 

You're "sick of the game?" Well, now, that's a 

You're young and you're brave, arid you're bright; 
You've had a "raw deal," I know, but don't squeal, 
Buck up, do your damndest and fight. 

— Quoted on the cover page of "The Kourier 
Magazine," August, 1930. 

The Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania reached the 
peak of its numerical strength early in 1925. The leaders then 
claimed an approximate membership of 300,000 Klansmen but 
refused to be definite as to the exact number or to give any proof 
of the accuracy of their approximation. There is considerable 
reason to believe that their claim was exaggerated. It might more 
accurately represent the total number of Klansmen who had joined 
the Order up to the end of that year for there were hardly more 
than 200,000 — at most 260,000 — in good standing at any time 
within the realm. The decline after 1925 was rapid and is shown 
by the following table :^ 

Klan Membership in Pennsylvania 

1926 71,177 

1927 31,099 

1928 18,916 

1929 10,428 

1930 4,279 

In an attempt to explain this decline, it is useful to recall the 
general circumstances which led to the rapid growth of the Order. 
First, there was the fact that the traditional mental stereotypes 
of Pope, Catholic, foreigner, "nigger" and Jew which thousands 

Dissatisfaction in the Eastern Province 


of Americans held were such as to engender fear and hatred 
of them. Then there was the fact that the Klan offered an 
avenue of escape from the monotony which characterized life in 
the average village or rural community. There was also the fact 
that the economic readjustment wliich followed the war resulted 
in increased competition for jobs and made many people eager 
to find a convenient scape-goat upon whom to lay the blame for 
their declining fortunes. Finally, there was the post-war hysteria 
which found a negative expression in the fear and hatred of all 
things that were foreign or different, whether the difference be 
in race, nationality or culture.* 

Had conditions changed after 1925 so that these factors which 
produced the Klan no longer existed or, if they did exist, were 
no longer effective in stimulating membership in the Order? 
From correspondence and interviews with ex-Klansmen in many 
parts of the state, the writer is convinced that most of their 
mental stereotypes remained unaltered. Catholics were still con- 
sidered, if not as actual, certainly as potential traitors to their 
country, the Pope as a scheming tyrant thirsty for temporal power 
if not the actual anti-Christ prophesied in the book of Revelation 
and the superior Nordics as the chosen of God to rule over all 
other people in the United States who were racially distinguish- 
able from them. The presuppositions of Klan doctrine— Catholic 
treachery, white supremacy, Protestant orthodoxy— were not 
questioned or questionable. One Klansman who sorrowfully with- 
drew from the Order having been convinced that its leaders were 
subverting "its glorious tenets" significantly stated: "There was 
nothing wrong with the Klan principles. But the members— 
they weren't big enough for the Order."^ Another in like cir- 
cumstances apologized for leaving the Order when Protestantism 
was declining "while its enemy lies waiting to thrust the knife 
into its very vitals" and when "the hordes of foreigners who 
have swept across our shores . . . tear down that which we have 
built up and prized, break without fear or favor our laws, destroy 
our Constitution, desecrate our Sabbath, control our politics and 

♦This anti-foreign hysteria found a positive form of ciqpression which was alrnost as 
intense but far less dangerous. A riot of biographies °. American heroes-statesmen 
cowboys and pioneers— were written. Motion pictures like The Covered wagon, ihe 
Iron Horse," and "When Old New York was Young were hlmed and pa r o^,c 
capitalists reconstructed the Wayside Inn of Longfellow and rebuilt the town of Williams- 
burg as monuments to "American" culture. 

164 The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

seek to usurp our power." "I believed the Invisible Empire to be 
bigger and greater than any Klansman within its ranks . . . 
but when those who have been entrusted with authority and who 
thereby should be over-zealous in their efforts to see that these 
sacred principles were upheld, trample them under feet for their 
own selfish ends and for the reason of self-aggrandizement, the 
time has come when those who have declared that honor is greater 
than life itself should decide which step to take for Right or for 
Wrong, for Honor or for Dishonor, for the principles of Klan- 
craft or for the autocratic methods of those who would force 
down the throats of clean, honest, Protestant, Americans a prac- 
tice of ignorance that views (sic) with the Romanist methods for 

These statements are typical and bear witness to the fact that 
it was not a rejection of the nativist principles of the Order 
which caused the withdrawal of genuine Klansmen, but the fail- 
ure of the Klan leaders to live up to them and to be guided by 
them in the formation of their policies. 

In regard to the second factor listed above, namely, the lure 
of the Klan for the thrill-seekers, the situation had changed con- 
siderably. The mysteries of the Order had become commonplace 
and, as initiations ceased, the vicarious pleasure of imparting 
mysteries likewise disappeared. Secret direct action against 
Klan-indicted culprits had brought such a storm of popular dis- 
approval that the Order in Pennsylvania had abandoned much 
of its violence for the safer activities of political intrigue and 
became little more than a political faction or bloc like the Catholic 
bloc or the foreign bloc which it condemned. This, of course, 
lessened the possibility of thrills for, while political manipulation 
is doubtless interesting enough for the manipulator, it is usually 
quite dull for the healer and the ordinary rank and file. 

Some attempt was made to appeal to the curiosity and love of 
mystery by introducing a second degree called Knights Kamelia 
and, later, the degree of Kwand. Locally some sport was 
found in conducting initiates through the rites of the order of 
Imps (an acrostic for I Maintain Protestant Supremacy) and 
the Yellow Dog degree. These elicited a little excitement and 
some raucous guffaws but were as impotent to maintain an abiding 
interest as was the initial kloranic ritual, 

Dissatisfaction in the Eastern Province 165 

The post-war economic depression had likewise lifted by 1925. 
The immigration law of 1924 had virtually removed the newly- 
arrived immigrant as a factor in the labor market. This fact 
together with the disappearance of panic conditions, while not 
removing the danger of the aUen's influence upon the survival 
of nativist culture, did remove from the mind of the average 
nativist the lively consciousness of the alien's presence which the 
latter's economic competition had created during the panic years. 

More important than these changes, however, was the fact that 
the passing of the years had checked the efflorescence of na- 
tionalism, at least in its negative aspects. The "Big Red Scare," 
hke a pricked balloon, had collapsed when quieter nerves gave a 
hearing to the evidences of its exaggeration. "Big Bill" Thomp- 
son and Mayor Hylan, who had earlier capitalized the anti-British 
sentiment which Irish and German antipathy and the controversy 
over war debt payment had helped to nourish, soon became the 
object of jest among many of the people who had voted for 
them; and William Jennings Bryan, in spite of his apparent 
martyrdom, was worshipped by a rapidly diminishing group of 
rehgious bitter-enders whose opposition to evolution had been 
fostered not only by a vestigial fundamentalism but also by a 
hatred of "foreign" ideas. Whether or not economic conditions 
were causally related to the change in national psychology, never- 
theless the full years of 1926-1929 witnessed a steady decline in 
the nativists' fear that our American institutions were being en- 
dangered, just as the lean years of the panic had been coincident 
with an increased feeling of cultural insecurity. 

Thus, in spite of the fact that the basic mental conceptions of 
the true nativists were not altered after 1925, the situation had 
changed sufficiently to de-emotionalize these conceptions and sever 
them from the source of power which had translated them from 
ideas into action. As important as this fact is, it is, however, 
less important as a cause for the Klan's decline in Pennsylvania 
than the internal dissentation which developed in the Order. 
Revolt from within, not criticism from without, broke the Klan. 
The shafts against Klan principles which were so constantly 
launched by its foes had glanced harmlessly off the impregnable 
armor of Klan conviction. Only as outside critics were able to 
cause doubt in the minds of Klansmen regarding the sincerity. 

166 The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

honesty and ability of Klan leaders, were they at all effective. 
Klansmen themselves laid their Order at the feet of their exultant 

To understand this internal dissention, one must keep in mind 
that applications for membership had been carelessly accepted in 
the heyday of recruiting. Whether moved by the ambition for 
political power, a crass cupidity or a baser combination of the 
two, Klan leaders of the type of D. C. Stephenson, Sam D. Rich 
and James A. Comer saw the rapid attainment of their goals 
only by furious recruiting and encouraged this practice in spite 
of their undoubted knowledge of its danger to the permanence of 
the Order. Indeed, the fact that the higher officials of the Order 
put so little of its income into anything that would show their 
expectation of a permanent organization, lends support to the 
belief that they anticipated the temporary character of the Klan.* 

In any event, the heterogeneous group which was admitted to 
"citizenship" was destined to divide into factions even after the 
mere curiosity-seekers had dropped out. Some Klansmen were 
lax in their ethical standards and irritated many others who 
joined the Order, thinking it to be a crusade for Puritan moral- 
ity. Again, some were conservative and opposed the use of 
strong-arm methods and activities that might provoke violence. 
Practically every Klavern had its quota of "young bloods" who 
wished to secure fire-eating "ex-priests" to lecture at open meet- 
ings, to burn crosses on -the front lawn of some Catholic priest 
to tack up warnings and send letters ominously signed with red 
K K K's or parade masked and heavily armed through Catholic 
communities where violent opposition had been aroused. Even 
if a Klan was fortunate enough not to have many believers in 
such direct action, it was seldom free from men who were pro- 
fessional gossip mongers, men who used the Klavern floor to air 
their private hates.** 

, There were some Klans where strong political loyalties divided 
the Klansmen into opposing groups. Conscientious Democrats 

*See ante, p. 80. 

**So prevalent was this that the national officials took occasion to warn the local 
Cyclops to be firm against every Klansman who tried it. See for example the Minutes 
of the State Klorero, Dec. 6, 1924, p. 14: "You should not allow men to spread dis- 
sention on the floor of the Klavern... If a man comes into your Klavern and starts a tirade 
about something that somebody is doing in the organization or something of that kind, 
he should be stopped then and there. No one has a right to come into your organiza- 
tion and tell you about their grief... If a man gets up on the floor of the klavern and 
talks about some other klansman who was out with some other man's wife, the klavern 
is not the place to take it up..." (Klansman Curry) 

Dissatisfaction in the Eastern Province 167 

were irritated to see a Republican boss get control of the organ- 
ization and manipulate it to serve Republican interests in the gen- 
eral elections. The reverse situation, though less frequent, was, 
if anything, more irritating than that just mentioned because there 
were more Republicans than Democrats in the State who gave 
religious devotion to their party. This political factionalism was 
especially bad when competing Klan candidates were in the field 
and talked against each other in the Klavern meetings. 

Some Klan leaders saw this factionalism growing and the wiser 
ones tried to check it. When appeal and persuasion proved in- 
effective means toward this end, it was always possible to use 
disciplinary suspension. In hopeless cases, or when the officials 
became jittery, they could always fall back on the surgery of 
banishment. This latter device was used with increasing fre- 
quency after 1925 and served to hasten rather than to save the 
Order from collapse. By that time the Realm was divided into 
strong factions and banishment was no longer interpreted as in- 
dividual punishment but as action against the group to which the 
banished member had belonged. The result in many instances 
was that local Klans disregarded the banishment decrees and re- 
fused to enforce them. 

This defiance of the higher officials in regard to banishment 
lead to a controversy over the constitutionality of the procedure 
followed. Article XX of the Klan Constitution outlined a method 
whereby banishment could regularly be issued only for major 
offenses* and then only after a certain routine had been fol- 
lowed. A written charge specifying the offense had to be filed 
and a grand jury investigation by a Klokann committee con- 
ducted." Then a trial had to be held before a Tribunal of sixteen 
Klansmen of whom twelve must concur in awarding the penalty 
and, if desired, the right of appeal to the Grand Tribunal or 
Imperial Kloncilium had to be given. Only after conviction by 
this procedure, could notice of banishment be issued by the Grand 
Dragon and the doors of every Klavern in the Realm be shut 
against the one so convicted. 

In actual practice, however, banishment decrees were issued 
both by the Imperial Wizard and by the Grand Dragon without 
any of this procedure having been followed, without even a warn- 

*See Ante, p. 75. 

168 The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

ing having been given to the individual or group banished. The 
obvious reason for this was the fact that these officials knew that 
the men they wished to remove would not be convicted by mem- 
bers of their own local organization. 

While it is easy to understand the circumstances which led 
state and national officials to act over the heads of the local 
Klans, it is just as easy to understand the hostile reaction of the 
latter to such action. Angered by what they felt to be the most 
obvious illegality and injustice, local Kligrapps wrote biting let- 
ters to the Imperial and Realm offices citing Article XX of the 
Klan Constitution referred to above. The Realm officials, re- 
fusing to back down, referred in reply to the military character 
of the Order and the oath which all Klansmen took to obey their 
superiors. In addition, there were a few cases where the Realm 
office went to the extent of completely eliminating an antagonistic 
local Klan, revoking its charter and banishing all its members as 
a group. This fate was suffered, for instance, by the William 
Penn Klan in Pittsburgh and by the Warren G. Harding Klan 
of Philadelphia. 

The Klan Constitution, however, was really somewhat am- 
biguous in regard to this matter. In spite of its provision that 
all charges for which banishment was a possible penalty had to 
be in writing and had to be investigated and substantiated by 
regular trial procedure, there was also the provision which vested 
the Imperial Wizard "with authority ... at his discretion to 
issue banishment order" against a Klansman for any offense other 
than those Hsted by the Constitution "that is inimical to the best 
interest of this Order."' It is not specifically stated in connec- 
tion with this power of banishment given the Wizard that guilt 
must first be proved by the regularly constituted tribunals of the 
Order. The Wizard chose to interpret his power broadly and 
to act "at his discretion" as judge as well as executioner of de- 
crees. There was no similar authority given to the Grand Dragon 
by the Constitution but, since the Imperial Wizard preferred to 
support his Realm representative in Pennsylvania when the latter 
arbitrarily banished Klansmen, there remained no source of 

The controversy over banishments was but one small phase of 
a larger struggle which developed between the local Klans, or 

Dissatisfaction in the Eastern Province 169 

factions within them, and their state and national leaders. The 
antagonism was originally focused primarily upon two individuals 
but as time went on, it spread to include not only their followers 
within the state but the national officials whose support they 
enjoyed. Although somewhat similar factors were involved in 
both instances, the dramatic quality of the controversy can best 
be re-created by describing them separately. 

The first centered in Philadelphia County. It was the most 
populous area in the state and had a number of Klaverns. There 
was William Penn Klavern at 52nd Street and Girard Avenue, 
"the Mother Klan of Philadelphia." There was Old Glory No. 5 
where Frank A. Whitesell and Bervin A. Taylor served as Ex- 
alted Cyclops. It met in the fortieth ward. Liberty Bell Klan 
met in the P. O. S. of A. Hall at 29th and Dauphin Streets and 
used it as a depot for weapons when the controversy took on a 
violent phase. There was also the Warren G. Harding Klan 
where Walter Turner served as Exalted Cyclops. This Klan 
had the distinction of having its total membership (some 550) 
banished as a unit. Another of the Klans which met at 27th 
Street and Columbia Avenue was named for Paul M. Winter, 
who was Hiram Evans' field representative in the Philadelphia 

The person thus honored, Paul Meres Winter, gradually be- 
came the object of outspoken criticism by many of the Klans- 
men under his jurisdiction who finally joined together in an 
organized attempt to have him removed from office. He was 
not a native Philadelphian but was sent there from the Read- 
ing district. Although a small man physically, his assertiveness 
and vitality compensated somewhat for his unimpressive stature. 
Evidently he had had little business success before he joined the 
Order to recommend him for the administrative position which 
he v^as given. He was loose in his personal finances and, in 
spite of the large income which he received from his commission 
on the approximately 30,000 members who paid their "donations" 
within his jurisdiction, in 1926 he was without credit. His own 
father had refused to do anything more for him financially and 
he was obliged to appeal to his personal friends for money in 
order to meet the payments due on his house." During the flush 
years, however, especially during 1923 and 1924, when the Klan 

170 The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

was still regarded as a great crusade and its leaders suffered no 
embarrassment from demands that regular accounting be made 
of the funds of the Order, Winter enjoyed considerable popvi- 
larity. In addition to his regular revenues, he received substan- 
tial gifts from his Klansmen in appreciation for his services to 
the Order. On one occasion they raised sufficient funds to pur- 
chase a Packard automobile for him. When the business of 
recruiting declined and it became necessary to replace the dem- 
onstrations and shouting with the quieter tasks of operating the 
Klans already overloaded with members. Winter's leadership was 
less successful. The appointment of Charles Lawrence as County 
Treasurer in charge of all funds* was particularly unwise and 
led to much suspicion. Lawrence was judged to be untrust- 
worthy and immoral. Many Klansmen were led to the conclu- 
sion that Winter himself wasn't "straight." As one of these 
Klansmen said : "You can't explain the Lawrence affair unless 
Winter was as crooked as Lawrence or unless Lawrence had 
something on Winter."' 

As opposition to him grew, Winter began to fight back choos- 
ing to use against the disaffected Klansmen the same type of 
coercion that had previously given the Order such an unsavory 
name when used against non-Klansmen. Winter's methods can 
be illustrated by citing several specific examples. William O. 
Cantey was one of the men chosen for punishment. Having 
transferred from Erie, he had been in Philadelphia only a short 
time when he felt that the Klan leadership there was bad and 
had so expressed himself. He had a small auto repair and 
garage business in which he had invested some $17,000. Winter 
threatened him with the loss of his business if he persisted in 
his criticism. When Winter's antagonism to him increased be- 
cause of the near feud which developed with the women's Klan 
over which Cantey 's wife presided as Kleagle, Winter's deter- 
mined to act. One of the first things that was done was to 
notify the public that Cantey was a Klansman. Winter knew that 
this would result in a partial boycott of his garage by people 
opposed to the Klan. To effect this purpose the letters K K K 
were prominently painted over his garage. Agents were assigned 
to picket his shop to warn those who patronized it and to see if 

*See Ante, p. 158. 

Dissatisfaction in the Eastern Province 


he talked with any other Klansmen. All the latter were 
threatened with banishment if they violated the order ostracizing 

Dayton Laubach suffered from somewhat similar tactics. He 
was the owner and proprietor of a jewelry store on Woodland 
Avenue where he served his neighborhood as confidant and ad- 
viser as well as watch repairman and optician. Loyal to his 
friends, he had built up the confidence and respect of quite a 
group of people in the fortieth ward district. However mixed 
his motives for joining the Klan— for he profited from a jewelry 
business of considerable size with the Order— he was, like many 
others, disturbed about the corrupt practices of Winter and his 
agents. Unlike many others, he had the courage to speak his 
mind and Winter struck back. A whispering campaign was be- 
gun to inform Catholics and other anti-Klan groups of Laubach's 
affiliation with the Order. While this produced a noticeable re- 
duction in his business, Winter did not stop here.* Laubach was 
especially dangerous because of his popularity and ability to 
lead the men of his own district. In order to destroy the regard 
in which other Klansmen held him, Winter repeatedly declared 
to gatherings of Klansmen that he had proof that Laubach was 
implicated in the theft of two government automobiles.® Winter 
even went to the extent of having his agents threaten Laubach 
with his life if he did not leave town, giving him forty-eight 
hours to get out. Unlike Cantey, who was not so well known 
and had fewer friends to help him, Laubach was able to defend 
himself against Winter's threats. Indeed, he gathered so much 
evidence against Winter and so many affidavits in proof of his 
own innocence that Winter was forced to sign a written apology 
and promise publicly to confess his error. 

Laubach was fortunate in having the resources to fight Winter. 
Other Klansmen had neither the time nor the money to do this 
and dropped out of the Order or were banished for petty offenses 
by hand picked Tribunals." To deal with his more obstinate 
critics. Winter had organized, with the knowledge of and ap- 
parently with the approval of the Imperial office, a Super-Secret 
Society which soon became known as "the black-robed gang." 
Captained by a young dare-devil, William G. Seemiller, it en- 

172 The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

gaged, under Winter's orders, in a campaign planned to terrorize 
his critics into silence and inactivity. 

In organizing this Triple-S Society, Winter had available as 
a model a group which certain leaders in the State of Ohio had 
created within the Klan and had found very useful when dan- 
gerous undertakings were decided upon. This Ohio group was 
known as the Night Riders and, acording to the testimony of one 
of its leaders, had quite a career of violence." The membership 
of Winter's Triple-S Society was, like that of the Night Riders, 
unknown to the other Klansmen. Distinguishable by their black 
robes and hoods upon which was an insignia which combined 
the regular Klan pattern with a skull and cross-bones, they never 
raised their visors. 

On several occasions Winter himself had introduced this group 
to the various Klaverns, prefacing their entrance with a speech 
in which he "advised the Klansmen present that, if anyone should 
receive a phone call at any time, they should obey anything they 
(the Super Secret group) told them and ask no questions. "^'^ 
Among the activities of this Society which were reported were : 
an assault made by some of its members upon the Kludd of 
Liberty Bell Klavem in one of the Klavern meetings ; the destruc- 
tion of a private garage of another Klansman ; the kidnapping 
and threatened tarring and feathering of Klansman Klingerman. 
It was reported that the group had formed plans to tar and 
feather six other Klansmen. A deputation went to the Imperial 
Wizard at Washington to report and protest against these ac- 
tivities. But when, in October of 1926, it became evident that 
no relief could be obtained from national headquarters, a group 
of Klansmen who were being persecuted decided to organize in 
order to protect themselves and, if possible, to secure Winter's 
removal. Organized as "the I.K.K.D. of F.", one of the first 
steps taken by this group was to prepare a letter and mail it to 
one thousand leading Klansmen in an effort to create a general 
reform movement within the Klan. Appealing to the law-abiding 
element, they wrote : 

"... You and we alike gave our allegiance to the In- 
visible Empire believing that those who have been honored 
with office had first these great principles at heart. That 
they believed in the oath and obligation which we assumed 

Dissatisfaction in the Eastern Province 173 

at the Sacred Altar and that they as well as we would 
sacrifice all to see that these and our great pnnciples were 
upheld. Then we sat blinded to the fact that our field 
Representative was building up a far more autocratic 
organization than Rome ever dared to build, treading upon 
and destroying these sacred oaths and obligations just as 
he saw fit to serve his own selfish ends. This seems hke a 
broad statement but God has blessed you with the power 
of thought and let us stop and see the things that have been 
going on around us, and what we have been blmded to." 

Then followed charges against the Super Secret Society and 
especially against Winter himself. He had, either personally or 
through his agency, the Triple-S Society, according to the K. 
D. of F., (1) broken his Klan Oath and the Imperial Instruc- 
tions No. 1, (2) revealed the identity of Klansmen to the alien 
world, (3) ruined the business of Klansmen, (4) lied unmerci- 
fully, (5) given no adequate accounting of Klan funds, (6) taken 
foreign-born into the Order, (7) driven men from the organiza- 
tion by trumped up charges and instructed juries, (8) ordered 
Klansmen to stay away from Klaverns not their own, (9) lied 
about Sam Rich and the State funds, and (10) prevented the 
chartering of the Klans. The letter closed with a challenge : 

"The K. D. of F. dares Paul M. Winter to stand trial 
for banishment and treason with a jury composed of clergy- 
men (ordained) who are also Klansmen. We demand this 
kind of a jury because we know that other juries have been 
packed and instructed and we trust that those who have 
taken up the mantle of Christ's ministry cannot be bribed 
or coerced but will render a just verdict. Will he accept 
this challenge? Ask Himf If he is innocent of these 
charges, he has nothing to fear and certainly he would be 
vindicated. The time has come when these wrongs shall 
be redressed and right shall rule the earth and when no one 
who, for the lure of gold or the temptings of envy or per- 
sonal ambitions, shall drag through the mire the Sacred 
cause we have espoused ..." 

Branding the writers of this letter as cowards "determined to 
break the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in Philadelphia County," 
Winter replied to this letter saying that he would "face the 
writer or writers of this communication at any time or place 
requested . . . and answer your lies." 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

The K. D. of F. promptly responded with a long communica- 
tion again condemning Winter's "treasonable acts" and claiming 
that he had "done more to break the Organization than anyone 
that we know of, including Rome itself." Quite evidently the 
trial and banishment of Klansmen was a special grievance. "You 
call your treasonable acts mistakes and try to blind the county 
to your activities, while you place on trial good honest Klansmen 
who were better Klansmen than you'll ever be." Demanding 
that Winter "make amends immediately," the letter concluded 
by threatening that "if this is not done, you will witness one of 
the most sad, sorrowful and eventful years in the history of the 
Klan for its officials in the state of Pennsylvania and probably 
in the United States." 

When the excitement over the activities of the Triple-S 
Society was developing, its captain, William G. Seemiller, was 
himself brought to trial. He tried to excuse, if not to justify, 
his actions on the ground that his superior had ordered them. 
Winter, however, claimed that his orders had been exceeded 
although it is evident that there were many Klansmen who dis- 
believed his claim. Seemiller subsequently turned extremely 
hostile to Winter, not alone because Winter failed to support 
him at his trial but also because he blamed Winter for causing 
an estrangement between Mrs. Seemiller and himself which re- 
sulted in their separation. 

Indeed, the charges that finally brought Winter to trial were 
made by this same ex-captain of the Super-Secret Society whom 
Winter formerly trusted to rid him of his critics. Although the 
Klokann found the charges made against Winter true, the 
Tribunal before which the case was presented was unable to 
muster the necessary votes — twelve out of sixteen — to get a 
conviction. This is in part explained by the fact that the in- 
fluence of Charles Lewis, Imperial Representative for Eastern 
Pennsylvania, and that of the Imperial office as well was exerted 
in behalf of Winter. 

In retaliation for this eflfort to oust him. Winter not only 
immediately banished the Klansmen who took leading parts in 
his prosecution but also unconditionally disbanded the local Klan 
in which the trial was held. While Winter escaped conviction 
in this trial, the total effect of the controversy upon the Order 

Dissatisfaction in the Eastern Province 175 

itself was disastrous, for it lost heavily both in prestige and in 

The disbanded Warren G. Harding Klansmen met and organ- 
ized under the name of "the American Debating Society." Another 
group, calling themselves "The Twenty-Six Club" organized to 
carry on the fight against Winter's "overlordship." These and 
other groups, one of which took the name of "American Christian 
Patriotic League," made up of people who had dropped out or 
been driven out of the Order were referred to as "The Independent 
Klan." Realm officials in other parts of the State who were aware 
of what was transpiring in Philadelphia, tried to hush the matter 
up and, when they did need to answer questions about it, at- 
tempted to laugh it out of countenance. 

Thus, in the Philadelphia District, the men's as well as the 
women's Order suffered a secessionist movement in 1926 and 
early in 1927 which left the parent organizations weak and bitter. 
In both instances, the disaffected rank and file had found their 
chief danger not in Catholic or alien threats to their liberties but 
in the actions of their own leaders.* 

* Pennsylvania Klansmen were not alone in this secessionist rnovement. The New 
Haven Connecticut Klan for instance had taken s.m.lar action ''''"f r^ff'".^ ^/nHian 
and had published the following manifesto addressed to the Imperial Klaliff at Indian- 

^^°'"'"No American worthy of the name can longer affiliate with an organization such 
as the Knights of the Ku KIux Klan of Georgia, Inc now is and maintain his self- 
respect Tiday under the leadership of Mr. Hiram Wesley Evans and yourself, the 
Klan has degenerated into nothing less than an organization of greed 

It has become a travesty on patriotism and a blasphemous caricature professing 
Protestantism. It is not only anti-Catholic and anti-Jew, but absolutely anti-Ameri- 
can and anti-Protestant. . ^, . • „i„ .„ 

It has become without question the greatest menace facing the American people to- 
day For every good man severing his connection with it, ten men are taken in that 
would shame a ward leader in Tammany Hall. The thousands of good Protestant 
Americans are blind to its intrigues and crooked methods. „ ^ , . ^, - 

Real Americans must be awakened and made to use every effort to stamp out this 
slimy serpent that threatens the very life of our Nation. Hundreds of real men in 
this old city of New Haven are glad to declare themselves, and for that reason a copy 
of this letter goes to the public press to use as their editors see fit 

— The Independent, (N. Y.) Jan. 1926, p. 59. 


1. The Washington Poit. Nov. 2, 1930, Section I, p. 14. 

2. Testimony of Klansman Frank Stoner of Scottdale Klan No. 37. 

3. Testimony of Klansman Harold R. Hoffman, in charge of the K-Duo Degree, Phila- 
delphia. . . 

4. Constitution and By-Laws of the Klan. Article XX, bection 6. 

5. Ibid. Article XX, Section 34. „ , r , r.i_-i j i u- 

6. Dayton Laubach Correspondence. Hartwell Stafford, editor of the Philadelphia 
Masonic Magazine, was thus importuned and made a loan of $500, to Winter who 
promptly defaulted on his payments. 

7. Testimony of Klansman W. O. Cantey. 

8. Affidavits of Klansmen James M. Henry and Robert S. Morrison. ,, ,> d 
9 Affidavits o' the following men who heard Winter make this charge: Harold K. 

Hoffman William O. M?ttner, R. C. Shran. Gustav Schreiber. Robert Morrison, 
Everett Blakeman, James McHenry, James A. MacFarland, Jr., William Frederickson. 

10. Correspondence of Richard R. Hoffman to Robert Moore, Jan. 27, 1926. 

11. Testiony of J. R. Ramsey of Dayton, Ohio. 

12. Affidavits of Albert P. Bailey and eight other Klansmen. 


The Decline of the Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania: 
Revolt in Province II 

". . . Man^ proud man, 

Brest in a little brief authority. 

Most ignorant of what he's most assured. 

— Shakespeare 

There was likewise much dissention in the western Province 
of the Realm where Sam D. Rich, the Acting Grand Dragon of 
the Realm, was the official upon whom most of the criticism was 
focused. A multitude of minor incidents had created a deep dis- 
satisfaction with his leadership. For one thing, he was much 
too careless and repeatedly failed to keep his promises to his local 
Klans and to his subordinate officials. He frequently promised 
to speak at Klan gatherings and, after he had been advertised 
as an attraction, failed to appear without giving the sponsoring 
Klan any notice of his indisposition and without offering an 
apology for what was, at least, a breach of common courtesy. 

Rich's memory seemed especially poor with regard to his 
financial obligations. As an example, he had encouraged Lincoln 
Klan No. 21 at Mt. Pleasant to plan a large demonstration on a 
neighboring mountain top. It was to be a gala affair and some 
thousands of visiting Klansmen from Westmoreland, Allegheny, 
Somerset and Fayette Counties were expected to attend. The 
preparations were expensive and, while such demonstrations 
usually showed a profit for the Klan which sponsored them, Rich 
had promised to make up from Realm funds any deficit which 
might occur. It happened that the weather on the night of the 
demonstration was unusually inclement and the attendance conse- 
quently was much smaller than was anticipated. The profits from 
gate receipts and from sales on the grounds were correspondingly 
meager so that there was a deficit of some hundreds of dollars. 
In spite of Rich's promise to pay this and in spite of the per- 

Revolt in Province II 


sistence of the Kligrapp of Lincoln Klan, Rich never met the 
obligation and it eventually had to be paid from local funds. 
Wilkinsburg Klan had a similar experience in its failure to collect 
a subsidy which Rich had promised for a demonstration in behalf 
of the Junior Order of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. 

Characteristic of Rich's financial dealings was his treatment of 
his subordinates. John B. Davis, for example, was persuaded 
by Rich to leave an excellent position in order to accept a Klan 
inspectorship at a slight increase in salary. After he had accepted 
Rich's offer— albeit against the advice of Joseph Shoemaker who 
was familiar with the financial practices of his chief — he was 
obliged to accept successive reductions in pay until his salary was 
considerably under his former income.^ A. L. Cotton complained 
of often having great difficulty in collecting what was due him. 
Lemuel Peebles testified to a shortage of $2,000 in the amount 
which the State office had paid him.^ 

Those whose contacts with Rich were most numerous felt that 
his untrustworthiness went farther than persistent attempts to 
avoid his financial obligations and a failure to meet his appoint- 
ments. They became convinced that he was generally unreliable. 
They found him guilty of a deliberate effort to sow discord among 
his staff members. His treatment of A. L. Cotton and Joseph 
Shoemaker is a case in point. Perhaps he feared the growing 
power of these two men who had been successful organizers and 
had grown into close personal friends. He disliked the fact that 
Klansmen, coming into the Realm office, usually preferred to talk 
with these subordinates rather than with him. As Cotton himself 
related his experience: "Rich's policy was to poison each of his 
Kleagles against the others. He certainly told me a lot of lies 
about Joe and Joe a lot about me . . . When Peebles and I 
were at the Harrisburg office together he tried the same thing. 
'You keep this under your hat but I don't trust Peebles,' and so 
on and on." Fred R. Dent, one of the prominent lecturers for 
the Klan, had a similar estimate of Rich's unrehability : "You 
couldn't pin him down. When there were differences of opinion 
or when some one came into the office dissatisfied, he would 
always say, 'Well, let's lay our cards on the table,' but he never 
would lay his on. You were seldom sure of him." 

178 The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

It is significant commentary on Rich's character that he em- 
ployed many service men to spy on the Kleagles, even those whom 
he himself had chosen. A comment by one of these investigators 
is typical of a general feeling that "Sam didn't trust anybody. 
He didn't trust me. He was constantly sending out agents to 
check on the officers and on each other."-'' 

The volume of this growing dissatisfaction made organized 
opposition to Rich almost inevitable. The fact that it began in 
Westmoreland County was largely fortuitous for in Allegheny 
County the criticism of his administration was also outspoken. 
Perhaps the initiative was taken by the Westmoreland Klans be- 
cause they were among the few Klans in the state which had 
organized into a County Unit whose officials were granted some 
authority over the local officials. Moreover, the Exalted Cyclops 
of the County Klan, Rev. John F. Strayer, then of Latrobe, had 
been having a lengthy quarrel with Rich over the latter's failure 
to authorize a trial for two members of the Greensburg local 
No. 3 who had been suspended. 

Leading up to this quarrel was the factionalism within the 
local Klaverns when the Westmoreland County Klan was organ- 
ized. This is quite evident from the following quotation made 
from an early letter which Exalted Cyclops Strayer sent to the 
Klans within the county. 

. . If we can maintain the spirit of unity, and Christian 
forbearance among ourselves, no evil power can ever break 
us . . . But if on the other hand strife, divisions, jealousy, 
brother going to law with brother, schism, enter the Klan we 
are doomed and doomed speedily. O! my brothers, I hear 
there are divisions among you and I partly believe it. This 
letter is an appeal for unity in Westmoreland Co. . . . 

"We are asking that each local Klan in the County who 
has not already done so shall at once appoint four members, 
(these may be officers or not as the Klan may determine) 
who shall meet with the representatives of the other Klans, 
on the second Sunday afternoon of each month in the I. O. 
O. F. hall in the Kounty Seat, and work and plan for the 
best interests of Klandom in Westmoreland Kounty. Please 
do not fail us. The Kounty Klan ... is the greatest unify- 
ing force of which I am aware. There are great political 
issues at stake and we can more capably meet and win these 
through a centralized unit ..." 

Revolt in Province II 


The Greensburg local suffered particularly from this malady. 
Indeed, Rich had early sought to remedy the condition by grant- 
ing permission to the leader of one faction, Squire James B. 
Smail, to organize a second Klan in the town "because of the 
strife and friction now going on in the present Klan."* Affairs 
improved for a time and Smail did not leave his Klavem. In 
May, 1925, after the quarrel had begun anew, Squire Smail and 
an associate, Sam Lopus, were suspended but no charges pre- 
ferred against them. Strayer, as Exalted Cyclops of the County 
unit, thought that specific charges should have been made and an 
opportunity given for the suspended men to defend themselves. 
He wrote Rich to that effect. A communication under date of 
July 15 reveals his growing bitterness. 

"... Sam, I have tried to be a good Klansman; I have 
answered when you have called. I have given the best that 
I had to the Klan; I have tried to be loyal and to serve. 
I know that something is wrong in Greensburg, and if we 
are to succeed the clear white light must shine. I know 
not who your secret agents are, — I do not want to know. 
But for one who loves his native land and our great fra- 
ternity, yea, more than life, I ask that immediate attention 
be given to this matter. If these my fellow Klansmen are 
guilty of crime, we should know it that we may shun them. 
If they are what they have always appeared to be, good, 
honest, fearless, loyal Klansmen they should be vindicated 
and their accusers thrown into the Lion's den ..." 

Rich refused to act and the matter was referred to the national 
office at Washington, D. C. It was not until January 12, 1926, 
however, that H. W. Evans wrote to say that he had issued orders 
"that the matter receive attention." 

This apparent injustice to "loyal Klansmen" and deafness to 
the appeals of the Westmoreland County leaders only served to 
increase their belief in the corruption of tlieir Realm chief and 
to encourage them to gather sufficient evidence thereof to force 
his removal. Finally, incensed by a very brief statement of the 
Realm finances which Rich had issued and which his critics con- 
sidered inadequate and misleading, the Westmoreland County 
Klan sent a delegation of seven, headed by Rev. J. F. Strayer, 
to interview the Imperial Wizard and make a personal protest 
against the Rich administration. They returned with Evans' 

180 The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

promise to give them an immediate and complete report of the 
finances of the Realm, to remove Rich from office by the end of 
the year and to give the next State Klorero the privilege of 
approving the new Grand Dragon. 

This meeting of Evans and the Westmoreland delegation took 
place on December 20, 1925. When, on January 10, 1926, none 
of Evans' promises had been fulfilled, Westmoreland County pre- 
ferred formal written charges against Rich to the National Klon- 
cilium of the Order. In the Bill of Particulars which followed 
were specified such items as (1) appointment of commissions to 
take charge of McKeesport Klan No. 7 and Central Klan No. 32 
for which the commissioners were never paid; (2) illegal lifting 
of the charters of Junction City Klan and Central No. 32; 
(3) refusal to carry out his agreement with Mrs. Knight to pay 
her for not working under Mrs. Goodwin ; (4) employment of 
A. T. Carlberg and I. F. Heidler without securing the sanction 
of the Realm Finance Committee ; ( 5 ) illegally suspending Klans- 
men Halloway, Reedy, Moore, Dale, Berthold, Wilson and Vial 
from Keystone State Klan No. 154 as well as of Klansmen Smail 
and Lopus of Greensburg Klan No. 3 and refusing to give them 
a trial; (6) directing the kidnapping of a child from his mother; 
and (7) ordering the brutal treatment of a colored man at the 
instigation of a white prostitute.^ 

These instances of "dishonesty, misrepresentation, and malad- 
ministration" are self-explanatory. In addition, however, the bill 
of particulars included reference to two commercial ventures of 
Rich which demand some explanation to be understood. The 
first of these was the Flowers Product Company. Rich and 
some of his associates were impressed by the quantities of food, 
especially of candy, which Klansmen purchased at the various 
demonstrations and conceived of making a nice profit out of a 
special Klan brand of candy. It was highly probable these men 
thought, that the loyalty which Klansmen had for their Order 
might be developed to include a certain bar of candy, the wrapper 
of which could be appropriately stamped with Klan symbols. 
Thus a practically guaranteed market would be secured for this 

It was with this idea that the Flowers Product Company was 
organized. It turned out to be a fiasco and Klansmen felt that 

Revolt in Province II 


Mr. Rich was largely to blame as is shown by the following 
item quoted from the bill of complaint : 

"Mr. Sam D. Rich used Mr. Wallace to sell stock in the 
Flowers Product Company to Mr. (John G.) Miles with the 
promise of purchasing all of the one kind of candy the Com- 
pany could make, and upon this representation Mr. James 
and Mr. Miles furnished the Company Five Thousand Dol- 
lars, but Mr. Rich never purchased any candy from the Com- 
pany. Later Mr. Rich agreed to take three hundred dollars 
of the stock, but never paid one cent for the stock, thereby 
embarrassing these men and perhaps causing a total loss to 
these associates of Mr. Rich.' 

Events were to prove that the loss, as anticipated, was "total." 

The other commercial enterprise was the Daily Dispatch Pub- 
lishing Company. At the time of the Carnegie and Scottdale 
riots in the autumn of 1923,* Klansmen found considerable dif- 
ference between the newspaper accounts of those affairs and the 
accounts given by their Klan leaders. Suggestions came to the 
Realm office that there was need for a newspaper which would 
represent the Klan cause "truthfully." It was a time when the 
emotions of Klansmen were deeply aroused and when the average 
member, believing that his Order was suffering Jesuitical per- 
secution, was willing to sacrifice much for the Cause. Whether 
or not the State officers had the welfare of the Order as much 
in mind as the Klansmen who bought stock in this enterprise can 
at this time only be surmised, but they acted promptly. Before 
the end of the year they had incorporated the "Daily Dispatch 
Publishing Co.," under a charter (Delaware) allowing the issu- 
ance of the following capital stock: 300,000 shares of class A 
common non-voting stock at $5 par value and 1,000 shares 
(voting) with no par value. The non-voting stock was immedi- 
ately hawked among the Klansmen and it is estimated that at 
least $90,000 worth of it was sold.'' The thousand shares which 
carried the control of the enterprise were naturally not put on 
the market but kept by the incorporators. Agents were likewise 
sent out to sell subscriptions to the paper at the rate of $11.00 
for a year's issues or $20.60 for two years' issues. The enter- 
prise was abandoned after a few months, much to the embarrass- 

*See ante, p. 52 S. 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

ment of the purchasers of its stock who wrote nasty letters to 
the president of the corporation, George P. Grise, and to the 
Reahn office. When the State Klorero met in December, 1924, 
the affair had by no means been forgotten and Rich was obliged 
to refer the matter to a committee which he conveniently filled 
with men who would not embarrass him. Klansman Heidler who 
made the committee's report frankly informed the assembled 
delegates that no relief could be obtained from the Realm and 
stated the opinion of the committee to be that "the letters which 
had been sent out demanding payment of the men for stock pur- 
chased . . . should be ignored." ^ Rev. W. J. Dempster who 
could always be trusted to fly to Rich's defense when the occasion 
demanded and to pay him compliments even when there was no 
occasion, jumped to his feet "to say a few words." 

"... Up to the present time, nothing has turned out 
as we expected. But I know that you are all Klansmen and 
that it is hard for you to hold malice in your heart for a 
single instant. Nobody is to blame. We have made no 
mistake, for I never think that I have made a mistake when 
things do not turn out the way I expected them to when I 
went into the thing with the highest of motives. I believe in 
it (the Daily Dispatch) now and will pay my money just 
as soon as the contract which we entered into has been ful- 
filled and the paper on the streets. Let us stand together 
and when we do, we are going to win." (Applause)^ 

The exploited Klansmen had no legal recourse for the money 
they had spent for stock but the money paid for subscriptions 
did involve the legal necessity of providing a paper if the sub- 
scription price was kept. This technicality was met ; the Daily 
Dispatch appeared a few times on the streets and its promoters 
considered the matter closed. Sam Rich, however, had given this 
enterprise his blessing and had encouraged the purchase of stock. 
The consequent moral obligation which he had assumed was less 
easy to escape than the legal one. 

Fortunately, a proposition made by James S. Vance offered a 
possible way out. Vance edited a scurrilous anti-Catholic journal 
called The Fellowship Forum the staff of which he claimed was 
"one hundred per cent Klan and Mason." The subscription price 
of this sheet was $2.00 a year and Vance offered Rich a fifty 
per cent commission if he would get subscriptions in job lots. 

Revolt in Province II 183 

Calling a meeting of his E. C.'s in Pittsburgh, Rich consoled 
them with the statement that "The Daily Dispatch fizzled because 
of the human element, not because of crookedness. They (the 
publishers) admit that a mistake=^ was made but say they are 
going to make good." « Rich and Vance explained the proposi- 
tion of the Fellowship Forum to the assembled Exalted Cyclops 
and alloting each Klan its quota of subscriptions, urged the offi- 
cers' to push its sale. "'Sell to Klansmen, to supended members, 
to eligible members. Sell it to every Protestant organization m 
your community."" One dollar of every subscription. Rich 
promised, would be deposited in a special fund in the Diamond 
National Bank under his name as trustee and used to repay bona 
fide stockholders. In regard to the latter, there seemed to be 
some uncertainty. In some strange way the Company's record of 
stockholders had been destroyed and Rich explained that it would 
be necessary for those holding the stock to make affidavit to that 
fact and file this and their stock certificates in his office. 

The plan worked fairly well. Stockholders subscribed to the 
Fellowship Forum and urged others to do so while those who had 
engineered the plan doubtless complimented themselves for dis- 
covering a method to make non-assessable stock at least partially 

With these facts in mind we can now return to the item in 
the Bill of Complaint against Rich made by the Westmoreland 
County Klan: 

"Mr. Sam D. Rich stated that not one cent of the money 
earned by subscription on the Fellowship Forum would be 
spent for anything except paying back the men who had 
subscribed to the Daily Dispatch and purchased stock in said 
Daily Dispatch, but Mr. Rich has used this money for other 
purposes, namely for the 'Lilly Fund,' and it is averred that 
about Eight Thousand Dollars were collected and about Four 
Thousand Dollars misappropriated." 

While the Westmoreland County leaders were busy gathering 
evidence and preparing this long list of charges the Klans of 
Allegheny County were also organizing for action. William Penn 

•High Klan officials were never specific about this mistake. The impression given to 
most of the rank and file was that those in charge spent too much for equipment and 
Xe space and the funds were soon exhausted in payment of rentals and interest 
charges. This explanation, however, is open to serious doubt. 

184 The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

Klavern of which Dr. Charles F. Oyer was Exalted Cyclops, 
took the initiative. This Klavern had a special grievance against 
Rich who, as King Kleagle, had personally admitted many men 
to membership in the Order, collected their donations, and then 
turned them over to William Penn to look after. Every member 
thus entered upon the rolls of William Penn Klan meant that 
Rich had pocketed five dollars that otherwise would have gone 
to their own treasury. 

Led by Oyer, an Allegheny County Klans Committee was 
formed which sent resolutions to the Imperial Wizard demanding 
that Rich be removed and that the chartered Klans be given an 
opportunity to elect their own Grand Dragon. When their peti- 
tions, like those of the Westmoreland County organization, were 
treated with "silent contempt," a cooperating group of Klansmen 
from Allegheny, Westmoreland and neighboring counties, calling 
themselves the "Non Silba Club," prepared to make an issue of 
the matter. Acting through a committee of ten, they set Feb- 
ruary 12, 1926 as the dead line for Rich's removal and, in case 
Evans continued to remain obstinate, February 27th was an- 
nounced as the date for a Convention of the chartered Klans at 
which to select a Grand Dragon and to take any other necessary 
steps which the situation demanded. 

By this time the Wizard was convinced that he must do some- 
thing for this group seemed determined and was too influential 
to be summarily banished from the Order. He promised to come 
to Pittsburgh to meet with them on February 13th. In order to 
again warn Evans that he would "lose Western Pennsylvania" if 
he did not suspend Rich and allow him to be brought to trial, 
Dr. Oyer and four other leaders boarded Evans' train east of 
Pittsburgh, interrupted a poker game which he was having "with 
his gang of gunmen that he always carried along with him" 
and explained the situation. After considerable banging of fists 
upon tables and protestation by Evans that Rich "was working 
hard and doing all right" and that he "loved Rich," the visiting 
committee won their point. At a well attended meeting that 
night in Duffs College, Rich's resignation was read and the Realm 
was temporarily placed under the control of the Imperial Depart- 
ment of Realms of which H. K. Ramsey was the ranking ad- 
ministrative officer. 

Revolt in Province II 


March 9, 1926, was set for Rich's trial. Since no form of 
tribunal was specified in the Klan Constitution for the trial of a 
Grand Dragon, Evans appointed three friends of Rich to act as 
judges : J. C. Orbison, of IndianapoHs ; A. H. Bell, Grand Dragon 
of New Jersey; and J. A. Edge, of Lexington, Kentucky. On 
March 9, Rich was ill with appendicitis and the trial was postponed 
until April 6. On that date Rich developed bronchial trouble 
and the trial was again postponed, this time indefinitely. Mean- 
while Evans tried hard to silence the demand for the trial. He 
worked with Dr. Oyer, who, as chairman of the group of co- 
operating Klansmen, was determined to bring Rich to justice. 
As Oyer himself graphically described it : 

"The Wizard began writing me nice letters, friendly letters 
with lots of compliments. I had managed the Western Penn- 
sylvania boys so well and all that bull. Zumbrunn, one of 
Evans' lawyers, wrote that he would make me Grand Dragon 
of the State if I would see that this matter about Rich was 
hushed up. I could easily see through all this flattery and 
finally told Evans I was not after the State office. Ah I 
wanted was a decent administration and then our boys would 
be satisfied. . 

"Things dragged along without any action, finally i sent 
a telegram to the Wizard: Sam Rich trml must be held or 
we will take matter to the civil courts. That scared the 
Wizard half to death for he immediately telegraphed back 
setting the date for the trial and asked me to make arrange- 
ments for rooms in the William Penn Hotel where it could 
be held. 

"Then, shortly after that I received a letter from Zum- 
brunn asking me to come to Washington for a secret inter- 
view and to let absolutely no one know where I was going. 
I had come into my office here with a friend of mine and 
found this letter from Zumbrunn. Since my friend saw it, 
I let him read what it said. I knew he would keep his mouth 
shut. He said, 'What are you going to do?' I told him, 
'I'm going down.' I didn't let anyone else know but my wife. 

"I didn't realize it at the time, but now I'm sure that 
Evans tried to frame me on that trip. When I got on the 
Pullman, the berth opposite me was occupied by a pretty 
girl and she began flirting with me soon after I got on. I 
didn't think anything about it then, went into the smoker 
and found two friends of mine who were en route to Florida. 
We sat and talked in the smoker for a long time and as 
luck would have it, they had the compartment in front of 

186 The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

mine. When I got off in Washington the next morning, 
this girl was right beside me but I was talking to my friends 
and I think she lost her nerve and wouldn't go through with 
her plan. I remember noticing several men standing around 
who were doubtless federal agents employed to pick me up. 
She would likely, if I had been alone, taken my arm and 
later sworn that I had slept with her that night. That was 
done by Evans lots of times when he wanted to discredit 
someone or get rid of someone. After the arrest it would 
be put up to you to either get out of the Klan or stand trial 
and usually the person got out of the Klan. 

"When I got to Zumbrunn's office he was there with 
Attorney Brown and one of Evans' gunmen. The first thing 
they did was to lock the ofhce and then Zumbrunn asked me 
if anyone knew that I was there. I told him that my wife 
and this other party knew I was there but that he could be 
trusted not to talk. I know very well that if it had not been 
for the fact that these people knew where I was, that I 
wouldn't be here to tell the tale. 

"Zumbrunn made more promises and again offered me the 
Grand Dragonship if I would call off Rich's trial. I told 
him, 'Absolutely not !' Then he told me that Evans wanted 
to see me. I said, Td like to see the old bird too.' So I 
went up stairs and the first question Evans asked me was, 
'How is Sam?' He evidently had a great affection for Sam. 
He knew that Sam had enough on him that he had to be 
nice to him. ..." 

The date which Evans chose for the trial of Rich was the day 
of the primary election. May 18th. It was doubtless chosen in 
order to make it as difficult as possible for the prosecution. Some 
of the witnesses, notably Rev. J. F. Strayer, who had led the 
opposition to Rich in Westmoreland County, could not be present 
on that date. Klansman Van A. Barrickman acted as prosecuting 
attorney. Such damaging evidence was presented that even a 
tribunal of Rich's friends were obliged to recommend his banish- 
ment. This recommendation was eventually accepted and on 
July 22d, he was banished by Imperial decree. 

Unfortunately, the removal of Rich did not end the trouble in 
Western Pennsylvania. A temporary flurry of resentment was 
created when it was reported that W. L. Robinson, whom Im- 
perial Klazik Ramsey had delegated to take charge of Pennsyl- 
vania, was discovered "defiling the state office by immoral relations 
with his stenographer." " This resentment remained temporary 

Revolt in Province II 187 

because Robinson was immediately removed and his position given 
to Spratt another man from the Atlanta office. The permanent 
controversy which again brought strife into the Order developed 
because of the selection and administration of Herbert C. Shaw 

as Grand Dragon. 

In December of 1925, Evans had promised the Westmoreland 
County leaders that "he would nominate a man for Grand Dragon 
and that this nomination must be ratified by a majority of all 
delegates assembled" in the State Klorero and "in case they failed 
to ratify he would continue to nominate until a man was 
ratified."" The Wizard was under no constitutional necessity 
to do this* but apparently he considered it advisable in order to 
quiet the criticism then rampant in that section.** This promise 
was not forgotten when the delegates assembled in DuBois for 
the summer Klorero on August 28th. A large number of the 
men came determined to elect Dr. Oyer, whose reputation had 
been enhanced by his leadership in the reform movement against 
Rich Evans did not come to the Klorero as he had pledged to 
do but sent instead his Imperial Klazik, H. K. Ramsey. Ramsey 
informed the delegates that he had been authorized by the Wizard 
to nominate Rev. Herbert C. Shaw, a Methodist minister, orig- 
inally from Tennessee but for some twelve years past "a member 
in good standing in the Erie Annual Conference" in Pennsyl- 
vania.^* Known for little within the Klan ranks except his 
radical anti-Romanist views, he received in the first balloting but 
sixty votes while Dr. Oyer polled one hundred and twenty-four. 
Ramsey, however, ruled the balloting illegal on the ground that 
Oyer had not been nominated and that no candidate was eligible 
unless nominated by the Imperial Wizard. He further refused 
to make any nomination except Shaw and threatened that "we 
would take Shaw or there would be no Grand Dragon elected." " 
Some of the delegates withdrew. Others, threatened with the 
alternative of having Shaw or accepting some out-of-state official 
like Robinson or Spratt or Colescott, thought it useless to keep 
up the struggle. Calvin Butler*** was persuaded to throw the 
votes of his large Altoona Klan to Shaw. When the second vote 

•*The*Wizt?d°had by proclamation laid down this procedure at the Imperial Klon- 
-i^Vi^D^.'Vy^e^^m'li^tl^TdThaVrmse^^td^ca^lefB^^^ h.m and offered him a 

state job in return for his support of Shaw. 

188 The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

was taken, enough wires had been pulled to secure Shaw's 

The majority of the Klans in the western province, although 
deciding to accept Shaw's leadership as better than that of Rich, 
were never uncritical of him. He had been too faithful to Rich 
to escape suspicion. Shaw, moreover, was entirely lacking in tact 
and made no effort to conciliate his opponents or to win their 
loyalty. By February 1927, resolutions were adopted by the 
"Western Pennsylvania loyal Klansmen" and Evans was notified 
of the shortcomings of this new Grand Dragon. 

Shaw, unlike Rich, had no criminal charges placed against him. 
The chief criticism of his administration was that of "dividing the 
Realm into two warring camps" by such things as (1) showing 
hostility to the Klansmen who had "saved the state from chaos and 
disgrace when the former acting Grand Dragon brought our noble 
organization into turmoil within and disrepute without" while 
showing favoritism to those who had supported the Rich regime ; 

(2) removing the Realm office from Pittsburgh to Harrisburg 
when the majority of chartered Klans were in Province II ; 

(3) refusing to show a fraternal spirit or to "answer simple 
questions" relative to such things as the salaries which Great 
Titans were paid; (4) "forgetting" to circularize the state against 
the wet William S. Vare when he ran for U. S. Senator ; 
(5) making "unscholarly and undignified utterances" generally 
and especially for delivering "ranting and inflammatory speeches 
against Catholics and Negroes." ^° 

Forgetting the temper of these Western Pennsylvania Klans- 
men, the Wizard repUed to their communications by mailing to 
them the banishment decrees of two of their trusted leaders. 
Van A. Barrickman and John F. Strayer. Given "without notice, 
trial or hearings" these banishments were immediately labeled 
"high-handed tyranny" and openly renounced. Several of the 
Klans passed resolutions "that we will not recognize or respect 
these banishments by our Imperial Wizard, Hiram W. Evans," ^"^ 
and so informed him. 

Barrickman wrote personally to the Wizard to ^® ask him why 
he "so arrogantly ascribe(d)" to himself "such arbitrary power" 

Revolt in Province II 


in face of the constitutional provision that "all charges . . . 
shall be in writing, specifying the acts complained of."* Informing 
Evans that he (Barrickman) "was as good a Klansman as you 
ever dare be," he demanded to know the charges against him and 
to have a chance to defend himself. When Evans gave no sign 
of granting this request, Barrickman and Oyer decided to hold 
the trial in their own klavern and gave notice to the State and 
National offices that if there were charges or witnesses, they 
might present them. The trial was held according to schedule and 
as the presiding officer described it: 

"... Shaw came in with a gang of gunmen.** I took 
the chair and proceeded with the trial. Shaw got up and 
asked for a word and said that he deposed me from office. 

" Try and put me out of it !' I replied. 

"He tried to tell the boys that the trial was illegal. He is 
a pretty fair talker, too, but the boys were hostile. Finally 
he got mad and said, 'By the authority vested in me I revoke 
the charter of William Penn Klan.' 

" 'You can say you revoke it all you care to but try and 
get it.' Nor did he, in spite of the gang he had with him. 
He tried to get the members of William Penn to leave the 
trial. 'AH those who wish to remain with the Klan and be 
reinstated will please rise.' 

"Nobody got up. He talked some more and asked the 
same question again. Nobody stood. After some more 
harangue he asked a third time. Still no response. The 
fellows were in to fight this thing through. 

"I finally went back to the door and told Shaw and his 
gunmen that if any of them were witnesses against Barrick- 
man, they could remain. All the others could get out and 
get out quick for the trial would proceed: 'Hurry up, you 
bunch of hoodlums, get on out . . .' 

"We went through with the trial and nobody was there to 
substantiate the charges on the banishment papers so the jury 
acquitted the defendant. All this went down on our minutes. 
We acted constitutionally. Shaw tried to force his will against 
the By-Laws of the Order." 

*See ante, p. 75. 

**Several Imrier!.!! representatives also attended. The affidavit of Cornelius B. Oborn, 
the Klaliff of William Penn substantiates Oyer's use of the word sunmen. /Jborn 
states in regard to this trial; ■'Herbert C. Shav,'. . .brought a bunch of rou^h-necks into 
William Penn No. 136... with levoKeri and tried to raise a not. ..He had one ot nis 
rough-necks attempt to throw one of our members then being tried... .out ot the nail 
and the loyal members would not stand for such rough conduct " 

190 The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

During April, May and June the Grand Dragon was faced with 
open rebellion among the Klans which had opposed his election 
and had preferred charges against him. He had precipitated this 
by issuing orders revoking the charters of several Klans which 
were hostile and by threatening to collect forcibly their property 
and funds.* 

The Klans at Coraopolis, Manor, New Kensington, Duquesne, 
Homestead, Vandergrift, Jeannette, Leechburg and Latrobe suf- 
fered this fate along with William Penn Klan of Pittsburgh.^" 
To add insult to injury, agents were commissioned by Shaw to 
attempt to re-instate these banished Klansmen at five dollars per 
man and to accept new applicants at six dollars per man. The 
members of these Klans, believing that the Grand Dragon was 
without constitutional authority to revoke charters and determined 
to resist force by force, continued to meet in their several Klaverns 
and to plan new ways of resisting Shaw and the national officials 
who supported him. There was some discussion of instituting 
quo warranto proceedings against the Order in the civil courts. 
Several of the leaders held that some of the money which had 
been paid to the Realm treasury could be recovered by proving 
that the Order had used funds for ultra vires purposes not 
specified in the Klan Charter. 

Whether or not Imperial Wizard Evans was cognizant of this 
latter fact, he already had had much to anger him. Having started 
on a policy of coercion, he now undertook to end this open defi- 
ance by a bold legal stroke. He directed suit to be entered in the 
U. S. District Court of Western Pennsylvania against Barrick- 
man, Oyer and Strayer, their associates — Dr. Charles S. Hunter, 
of Monessen, and William C. Davis, of Manor— and "all persons 
similarly situated," praying the Court for an injunction restraining 
these persons from the use of the name Ku Klux Klan and de- 
manding $100,000 in damages for injury they had done to the 

Evans had hoped that a damage suit of this size would bring 
the recalcitrant Klansmen to their knees begging to have it with- 

*Article 18, section 23 of the Constitution provided that "m the event the charter of a 
Klan has been revoked or cancelled for any cause whatsoever. . .all monies at that Mail 
in the possession of any ofliccr or member thereof shall automatically become the actual 
monies of the Imperial treasury of this Order and same must be freely and promptly 
turned over, on demand." 

Revolt in Province II 

drawn. Instead they accepted it as a challenge and began raising 
money to fight the case. They maintained that their banishments 
had been illegal and that they were still Klansmen in good stand- 
ing and had a perfect right to use the name of the Order. As 
an additional defense they prepared a counter-claim in which they 
declared that the plaintiff Corporation had collected monies for 
illegal purposes and asked on their part that the Order be re- 
strained from doing further business in the State and that a 
Trustee be appointed and an accounting made. 

Since the rules of a Court of Equity demand that the plaintiff 
must come "with clean hands" before relief can be obtained, the 
hearings on this counter-claim were, from the legal point of view, 
determinative. Stimulated on the one hand by the threat of 
having to pay $100,000 in damages and, on the other hand, by 
the hope of recovering funds from the order, the defendants 
brought to light as many instances of illegal or quasi-legal acts 
by the Klan as they could find witnesses to prove. Although 
revealing the seamy side of the Klan in a somewhat exaggerated 
way, unrelieved by any instances of commendable action, the 
Court Records of this case remain the best source material for 
the secret activities of the Realm organization. The cross-bill 
itself contained thirty-two items alleging "undue use of funds" 
and illegal practices. Most of the charges which the critics out- 
side the Order had made against it were now made by the Klans- 
men themselves. The unconstitutional ways in which Klansmen 
had been banished and charters revoked and threats made to 
remove the funds of the local Klans were, of course, included. 
More important, however, were the allegations that Klan funds 
had been used to enrich unduly its promoters ; to foster "disrespect 
for government law and order," to spread religious prejudice and 
"propaganda of bigotry and intolerance"; to "menace political 
parties" by interfering with elections and by intimidating voters ; 
to "stamp out private schools" and "dictate teaching forces and 
curricula" ; to "interrupt and molest religious services" ; to make 
"threats and intimidations" and to cause "menacing riots of mur- 
der, lynching and bloodshed." 

Scores of affidavits made by Klansmen were filed in support 
of these allegations. While many of the statements made were 
plainly based upon second hand information or even rumor and 

192 The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

were doubtless prompted more by a spirit of retaliation than by 
one of historical accuracy, many others were made by persons 
who had themselves talten part in the activity they related or had 
been eye witnesses of it. Many of these people voluntarily took 
the witness stand during the hearings on the cross-bill and de- 
scribed the activities in detail. 

The most serious charges which were brought against the Order 
applied to the regime of Sam D. Rich. Testimony was given by 
those who had participated in the action that, in Pennsylvania, 
"under the direct authorization of the principal officers of the 
state," a child had been kidnapped from the home of her grand- 
parents ; that a Negro had been hung to a tree by a rope around 
his neck, kicked and otherwise maltreated ; that Klansmen had 
been given arms, instructed to defend themselves, and ordered to 
march in direct violation of the orders of the civil authorities 
with resultant rioting and loss of life, that a despotic rule had 
been maintained by Klan officials with the aid, in some instances, 
of special masked, black-robed men who had been used as in- 
struments of terror to threaten, abuse, and on occasion physically 
maltreat other Klansmen, that there had been much misappropria- 
tion of funds ; and that behind much of the activity of the leaders 
was the motive of enriching themselves. In connection with this 
last charge, Joseph Shoemaker who, as Secretary of the chartered 
Klans for over eighteen months before which time he had been 
one of the leading Kleagles in the State, knew most of the State 
officials well, summed up the financial transactions of the Order 
by saying: "The provisions of the national charter calling for a 
benevolent, religious and charitable institution is a joke ; it is 
run entirely for profit." 

Rich's administration did not, however, receive all the con- 
demnation. Many affidavits charged Shaw as well with "inflam- 
matory speeches," with "inciting to riot," and with misappropria- 
tion of funds, all of which were alienating the membership and 
destroying the Order. One Exalted Cyclops called him "just a 
hell-raiser." Two instances when he actually precipitated vio- 
lence were described and Leechburg Klansmen took the precau- 
tion to have him searched for weapons before admitting him into 
their Klavern. 

Revolt in Province II 193 

In reply to the charges against Rich, the Plaintiff, although 
presenting witnesses who denied most of the allegations, did not 
have a strong defense. Since a national Tribunal of the Order 
had acknowledged Rich's participation in the kidnapping and 
lynching episodes for which he had been banished by the Wizard, 
to deny this before the civil court was absurd. To prove that 
Shaw was falsely accused, however, the loyal Exalted Cyclops 
throughout the state were circularized and asked to sign identical 
affidavits relative to the activities of the Realm office. Seventy- 
three Exalted Cyclops from as many different Klans returned the 
document duly signed and sealed, each swearing that "he was 
acquainted with Rev. Herbert C. Shaw" and had "heard read 
numerous bulletins or communications from the Realm or State 
office of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania in 
which the membership of this Order have been admonished to 
respect the law and the duly constituted officers of the law and 
informed that those of our membership who violated the law 
would be expelled from the Order for so doing ; that the teachings, 
precepts, and oath of the Order required its members to obey the 
laws of the land and support the officers of the law in the proper 
performance of their legal duties and generally to conduct them- 
selves as good citizens." 

Such general denials of Klan lawlessness were weak answers 
to the many specific instances of misconduct which were recited 
in detail before the Court. Judge W. H. S. Thompson, before 
whom the hearings were held, had no difficulty in deciding the 
issue. After reciting some of the more serious violations of the 
law which had been done at the command of the responsible 
officers of the Order, he ruled that : 

"... In view of all the facts disclosed by the evidence, 
the plaintiff corporation, stigmatized as it is by its unlawful 
acts and conduct, could hardly hope for judicial assistance 
in a court of the United States, which is highly commissioned 
to extend to all litigants before it, without distinction of race, 
creed, color or condition, those high guarantees of liberty 
and equality vouchsafed by the constitution of the United 
States . . . 

"This unlawful organization, so destructive of the rights 
and liberties of the people, has come in vain asking this court 
of equity for injunctive or other relief. They come with 

194 The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

filthy hands and can get no assistance here. Plaintiff's prayers 
for relief are denied and the bill is dismissed at the cost of 
the plaintiff." 

The details of the case were given wide publicity in the daily 
press and had much deadlier effect upon the Klan than the re- 
porting of the Carnegie and Lilly riots had had. Typical of the 
kindlier editorials was that which appeared in The Johnstomn 
Democrat. Although generously and no doubt correctly asserting 
that "ninety-five per cent of Klan membership was and is made 
up of men themselves innocent of evil intent" nevertheless "they 
have been and are the dupes of the higher ups." The New York 
World seized upon the evidence given of Klan wrongdoing and 
reported it in sensational form as a vindication of its original 
vigorous opposition to the Order.* The reporters for the Pitts- 
burgh Catholic Observer laughed with unholy glee at this feud 
among the "Kluckers" which had torn the Order apart and was 
destroying before their eyes what remained. 

During the entire period from the time the damage suit was 
filed by the Klan in July 1927 to the reading of the decision by 
Judge Thompson on April 13, 1928, the official organ of the 
Klan, The Kowrier Magazine, made no mention of the trial. In 
the issue of July 1929 an inconspicuous notice was inserted with 
reference to the appeal which had been taken from Judge Thomp- 
son's decision. "In Pennsylvania," reported the Kourier Maga- 
zine, "a gang of men instigated by the Romanists, are trying to 
steal the Klan name and insignia. Naturally the Klan is trying 
to prevent them. In court at Philadelphia, their lawyer declared 
the Klan was 'the most despotic institution in the U. S. . . .,' 
and that the Imperial Wizard was 'the chief of organized crime 
in this country.' Yes sir ! He actually did !" Not a word more 
was told its readers and when the Circuit Court sustained Judge 
Thompson in his decision, the fact also went unmentioned. The 
Fellowship Forum, under the inconspicuous one column head 
placed near the bottom of the page, noted that "the case instituted 
by a group of banished Klansmen in Pennsylvania . . . ended 
abruptly when the court refused the petition of the malcontents 
and throw the case out." It also printed an official statement of 
Imperial Wizard Evans evidently written to comfqrt the Klang- 

*See ante, p. 21, 23. 

Revolt in Province II 


men who knew from other sources that the Klan itself had in- 
stituted the original suit and had lost its case because it had come 
to court with the "unclean hands" of a law-breaker. Evans re- 
gretted that the court "had impeached the integrity of hundreds 
of thousands of Pennsylvanians who were Klansmen" and had 
refused to allow sufficient time for him "to bring from the remote 
points, where the crimes were alleged to have been committed, 
public officers and other men of high repute by whom we would 
have positively disproved . . . that such occurrences had taken 

In spite of the fact that this alibi was no doubt accepted by 
many credulous Klansmen, the case proved a signal defeat for an 
already greatly discredited leadership,— a leadership which, un- 
fortunately, was not removed. Shaw still remained the Grand 
Dragon of the Realm. The cross-bill in which the defendants 
had prayed for an injunction against further operation of the 
Klan in the State had been disallowed by Judge Thompson be- 
cause it was not in the jurisdiction of his court to grant it. 
Hiram W. Evans continued to hold his office of Imperial Wizard 
although he had been called in the decision "directly responsible 
for the riot and bloodshed" at Carnegie. Had these matters been 
brought before the proper courts as the New York Evening Post 
urged, the Order might have suf¥ered further defeat. Some steps 
were taken to proceed with the quo warranto petition but the 
difficulty which the defendants had had in financing the first case, 
the dispute which arose between the Committee of Ten and their 
chief counsel. Van A. Barrickman, over his remuneration, the 
dwindling membership of the cooperating Klans, the financial loss 
sustained by Rev. John F. Strayer in his attempt to sell in printed 
form a part of the evidence gathered in the trial: — ^these diffi- 
culties influenced the Committee to let the matter drop. Reform 
had grown both wearisome and expensive. 

So, while the Klan still retained the legal right to operate in 
Pennsylvania and while Shaw still wore his appliqued dragon 
insignia, the local Klans in western Pennsylvania rapidly disin- 
tegrated. The Order tried to salvage what it could under the 
provision that the property and funds of disorganized locals 
belonged to the national organization. In many instances robes 
and crosses and flags and typewriters were given up to the agents 

196 The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

who came for them. The cases were few where funds were 
given up. The former officials of the abandoned Scottdale Klan 
No. 37 retained enough spirit to get a court order for the 
restoration of their records and property which had been taken 
from them.* 

With this trial in Western Pennsylvania, the secessionist move- 
ments reached their climax. They had effected both men's and 
women's Orders and both the eastern and western sections of the 
state. In the struggle which they made against the maladministra- 
tion and dictatorship of their higher officers, the participating 
Klansmen had proved themselves Americans with "the spirit of 
the Declaration of Independence in their blood" in far more 
effective fashion than they had while making their ill-considered 
claims of racial and religious superiority or while repeating the 
patriotic pledges contained in their rituals. 

The close of 1928 found the Realm containing a mere 10,500 
members. Nineteen of every twenty who had been Klansmen 
at the peak of the enrollment in the state had dropped out. Six 
of every seven who still remained with the Order prior to the 
Rich trial in 1926 had gone. It is doubtful if the membership 
would have remained as large as 10,000 during 1928 had it not 
been for the fact that Catholic Alfred E. Smith was chosen as 
the Democratic candidate for President of the United States in 
that year. The State office, with the aid of the Fellowship Fonim, 
was able to magnify the danger of his election sufficiently to make 
Klansmen forget their criticism of the Order in the hope that it 
would furnish the leadership which they wanted in the anti-Smith 
fight. The effect which the activities of the Order had upon this 
election has already been commented upon.** In certain districts 
the Protestant vote may have been swelled because of the presence 
of active Klaverns, but throughout most of the State the outcome 
would doubtless have been the same had the Klan been ordered 
disbanded in April when Judge Thompson handed down his 

*The tactics of the National office were interestingly illustrated in this instance. At- 
torney Lewis C. Walkinshaw who had filed the Writ of Replevin was visited by one of 
Evans' lawyers, J. H. Connaughton, and a detective who did their best to frighten him. 
They presented him with an order from the Imperial Wizard saying that he was "without 
authority to instigate or to prosecute a suit in the Common Pleas Court of Westmoreland 
County, Pennsylvania, entitled Knights of the Ku Klux Klan vs. Kelley, et al.," and 
directing him to "immediately withdraw your appearance" in this "pretended action," 

**See ante, p. 110 ff. 

Revolt in Province II 


With Hoover safely elected, however, the rank and file Klans- 
men who remained in the Order found little militant work v;hich 
demanded their attention. It is true that Grand Dragon Shaw 
began to speak immediately of "the great campaign" to be waged 
in 1932 and that the editors of the Konrier Magazine began to 
give more and more space to "the menace of communism" in the 
hope of raising a red scare that would rally Klansmen under the 
standards of their Order, but the religious and political "crises" 
had passed. By 1930, the enrollment in the state had dwindled 
to less than five thousand. Those that remained, for the most 
part, were residents in the eastern half of the state and found 
their chief fraternal activity in the initiation of Klansmen into 
the new Kwand degree and in entertaining social activities. 

This change in interest from political and religious affairs to 
social activities was a change which had characterized the history 
of practically every "crisis organization" which had been estab- 
lished since the founding of the Republic. The secret nativist 
societies of the eighteen forties and nineties had been preserved 
as local social clubs after their political activities had ceased. The 
same was true of non-nativist groups. "The Patriots of Amer- 
ica," for instance, a Society which "Coin" Harvey organized as 
a belligerent free-silver Order, experienced the same transforma- 
tion.^* When the free silver issue became politically dead after 
1896, the "Patriots of America" did not immediately die but lin- 
gered along, the interests of its members changing from silver 
dollars to linen showers and dances. 

By 1931 there were tell-tale items in the Klan press which 
showed the Klan was undergoing a similar metamorphosis. For 
instance, one might have expected the Colonel Crawford Klan of 
Connellsville, during the stormy February evenings of that year, 
to be engaged in planning a glorious counter attack on the 
enemies of the nation. But no! Its members were practicing 
for a minstrel show with which to entertain their friends and 
incidentally raise a little money for Klan Haven. -'^ And York 
Klan, one of the most loyal in the state : was it organizing Night 
Riders to quell plotting Catholics and foreigners? Not at all. 
The York Klan was becoming famous for its "White Rose Male 
Chorus."^" And the Klansmen at Hamburg: were they black- 
listing local enemies ? Indeed not. They were growing renowned 

198 The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

for their "goat lunches" which "deutschers" from the Klans of 
Schuylkill Haven, Allentown, Reading, Catasauqua, Sinking 
Spring, Schnecksville, Perkasie, Pottsville, Doylestown, and 
Hummelstown enjoyed on occasion.-^ 

It is true that Klansmen sometimes listened to local orators 
make addresses on "the arch fiend Communism'"^ and to im- 
ported talent like Tom Heflin who felt that the Vatican and the 
KremHn might both be transferred to America if Americans 
were not on guard.-^ Nevertheless, they enjoyed with more 
frequency, although so common an occurrence was seldom men- 
tioned in the Klan press, speeches like that given by the E. C. 
of Langhorne Klan when he "entertained the large audience (at 
Schuylkill Haven) with comic sayings and jokes."^° Thus, while 
the high command of the Klan had not yet forgotten its "cru- 
sading," most of the rank and file Klansmen had settled down 
in their arm-chairs "to eat buns and play charades," and wait. . . 

Thus by 1930 the leaf and stock of nativism had practically 
disappeared again; not so its roots. Nativism has shown itself 
to be a perennial. Another coincidence of critical events, another 
emotional crisis with strong leaders to raise up old ghosts and 
thousands of the men and women who enrolled in the Klan will 
be ready to write another chapter in the story of American 
nativism. The problem of the relation of church and state has 
not been solved. A continuation of the present restrictions on im- 
migration will undoubtedly lessen one aspect of the cultural 
struggle. Economic adjustment with its implications for politics 
is, however, still painfully difficult, and there is considerable evi- 
dence now to show that the economic phases of cultural adjust- 
ment will bulk larger in the future history of nativism than in 
the past. Indeed, they may definitely change much of its vo- 


1. Testimony of Joseph Shoemaker. . , , ,^ x^, i^i 

2. Affidavit made by Lemuel Peebles in connection with the Ku Klux Klan vs. Strayer, 

Case No. 1987, in Equity. „..„■■ j ■ 

3 Told the writer in an interview by John B. Davis. Klan investigator and service man. 
4. Letter of authorization signed by Sam D. Rich, dated April 28 1924. 
5 This Bill of Complaint is reproduced in full in "A Report from the Committee of 

Ten to Co-operating Klans and Klansmen throughout the State ', dated December 31, 


Revolt in Province II 



6. Affidavit of William M. Likens who puts the amount at approximately 100,000. In 
his book, "Patriotism Capitalized or Religion Turned into Gold", (Uniontown 1925), 
p. 103, he specifies the amount to be $90,177.39. 

7. Mimeographed Minutes of the Realm Klorero for Sunday, December 7, 1924, p. 21. 

8. Ibid. p. 22. ^ , , ., ,■ , . ■ 

9. Taken from notes made by an Exalted Cyclops while attending this meeting. 

10. Ibid. 

11. Details furnished by Dr. Charles Oyer in an interview with the writer. 

12. Testimony of Joseph Shoemaker, who was in charge of the Pittsburgh office during 
Robinson's administration. Shoemaker was later removed from this position, pre- 
sumably because he had reported Robinson's immorality. 

13. The Report of the Committee of Ten, etc., p. 1. 

14. Affidavit of Klansman Charles E. McKinley. 

15. Report of the Committee of Ten, etc. 

16. Letter to H. W. Evans under date of February 5, 1927. 

17. Quoted from the Resolutions adopted by Vandergrift Klan No. 35, F. T. Cravener, 
E. C. ; sent to Evans under date of March 2, 1927. Among the Klans taking similar 
action were; Duquesne Klan No. 100; Latrobe Klan No. 46; Homestead Klan No. 
54; New Kensington Klan No. 10; Leechburg Klan No. 143; Coraopolis Klan No. 56. 

18. Dated February 28, 1927. 

19. Told to the writer in an interview by Dr. Charles F. Oyer. 

20. Affidavits by the following Exalted Cyclops: Harry M. Hite of Duquesne; Charles 
E. France, of Leechburg; 'William G. Ihrig, of New Kensington; Charles Stewart, Jr., 
of Homestead ; Robert B. Patterson, of Coraopolis ; and others. 

21. Charles E. France. 

22. Sworn testimony of 'William G. Ihrig and Robert Patterson. 

23. Order granted by Judge Charles D. Copeland, January 26, 1929. Case No. 1266 
before the Court of Common Pleas of 'Westraoreland County, May term, 1928. 

24. The Independent (N. Y.) February 12, 1927, p. 180. 

25. Printed in The Kourier Magazine, the official organ of the Knights of the Ku 
Klux Klan, under "Pennsylvania Notes." April, 1931. 

26. Ibid. May, 1931. 

27. Ibid. June and July issues, 1932. 

28. Ibid. February, 1933. 

29. Ibid. July, 1931. 

30. Ibid. June, 1931. 


Some Beginnings of Nativism : 

For the early nativist movement in the 1830's and 1840's there 
is little contemporary material available other than highly partisan 
accounts. The most complete and objective of the studies con- 
tinues to be that by John H. Lee: Origin and Progress of the 
American Party in Politics (Phila. 1835). S. F. B. Morse was 
one of the most prolific of the early propagandists of the move- 
ment. His Foreign Conspiracy Against the Liberties of the 
United States . . ." (N. Y. 1835) is typical. Much light is 
thrown on the movement by Peter Guilday : The Life and Times 
of John England, 2 volumes (1927) ; J. G. Shea: History of the 
Catholic Church in the United States (N. Y. 1890). Brief 
articles of importance are: James Boyd: The Irish in America 
(No. American Rev. Jan. 1841, 52/191) O. S. Straus: Religious 
Liberty in the U. S. (N. Y. 1896). 

For the Know Nothing movement, Louis D. Scisco : Political 
Nativism in New York (N. Y. 1901) is the best general ac- 
count. It is not limited to a single state as the title suggests. 
The sketch by H. J. Desmond: The Know Nothing Party (N. Y. 
1904) has some value. Two valuable regional studies are the 
monographs by L. F. Schmeckebier : The Know Nothing Party 
in Maryland (Johns Hopkins Univ. Studies in History and 
Political Science, vol. 17, 1899) and by George H. Haynes: The 
Causes of Know Nothing Success (Am. Hist. Rev. iii/67, Oct. 
1897). The partisan feeling of the time is revealed in such works 
as The Sons of the Sires, a History of the Rise, Progress, and 
Destiny of the American Party (Phila. 1855), An Appeal to 
Workingmen (Washington, 1856), W. S. Balch : Romanism and 
Republicanism Incompatible (N. Y. 1852), E. Hutchinson: 
Young Sam, or Native Americans' Own Book (N. Y. 1855), 
J. W. Laurens : The Crisis, or the Enemies of America Un- 
masked (Phila. 1855), T. R. Whitney: A Defense of the Ameri- 
can Party (N. Y. 1856). Brief summaries of the movement are 
contained in such works as J. B. McMaster: A History of the 

Critical Essay on Bibliography 


People of the United States (N. Y. 1919) vol. viii, p. 82-86, 
211-214, 228-229 and his The Riotous Career of the Know Noth- 
ings (Form 17/524 Jl. 1894) ; T. C. Smith: Parties and Slavery 
(American Nation Series, vol. 18, N. Y. 1906) ; W. F. Hewitt 
The Know Nothing Party in Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania His- 
tory, vol. ii, April 1935). 

The standard work on the American Protective Association is 
J. H. Desmond: The A. P. A. Movenient (Wash. 1912). A 
critical account of the genesis of the movement appears in J. J. 
Tighe: The A. P. A., Its Origin and Growth (N. Y. 1894) and 
P. H. Winston: The American Catholics and the A. P. A. 
(1895). Typical of the A.P.A periodicals is The A. P. A. MagOr- 
zine (San Francisco, 1895-1897). The School Question is illumi- 
natingly discussed in G. M. Grant: Religious Instruction in 
State Schools (Edu. Rev. 3/40 Jan. 1892) ; I. A. Mooney: The 
Catholic's Controversy about Education (Edu. Rev. 3/237 Mar. 
1892) ; Thomas Bouquillon: A Reply to Mooney (Edu. Rev. 3/365 
Ap. 1892); C. B. Fallen: The Catholics and the Public Schools 
(Edu. Rev. Dec. 1892) ; W. M. West : Those Faribault Schools 
(Christian Union, 46/782, Oct. 29, 1892). Important articles on 
other phases of the movement include W. C. Doane : Hostility to 
Catholics (No. Amer. Rev. 158/573 May 1894) ; W. J. H. Tray- 
nor : The Policy and Power of the A. P. A. (No. Amer. Rev. 162/ 
659 June 1896); F. R. Coudert: The American Protective 
Association (Forum 17/513 July 1894). 

The Revival of the Ku Klux Klan and Its Spread into 
Pennsylvania : 

The literature relative to the recent Ku Klux Klan is enormous. 
The best early bibliographies were those prepared by the U. S. 
Library of Congress, Division of Bibliography: No. 533 (1921), 
No. 738 (1923) and No. 846 (1924). Julia E. Johnson: The 
Ku Klux Klan (The Reference Shelf, i/no. 10, N. Y. 1923) 
contains a selected bibliography. M. L. Barchelder compiled a 
useful Digest of Laws of Various States Relating to the Ku 
Klux Klan (N. Y. State Library Ass'n, Albany 1923). 

The official organs of the Order were The Standard (N. Y.) 
and various state editions of The Fiery Cross (1923-1925). 
Although Ohio, New Jersey, Indiana, and West Virginia had 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

separate editions, no Pennsylvania edition was published. The 
Fiery Cross was absorbed by The National Kotirier which was 
published in regional editions such as the North Atlantic edition, 
the Eastern and Middle edition, etc. At the Atlanta office was 
published The Imperial Knight Hawk (1923-1924) which was 
continued as The Kourier Magazine (Dec. 1924 to date). In Penn- 
sylvania there was the very temporary Keystone American (1924) 
and an attempt was made to publish The Pittsburgh Daily Dis- 
patch. Not owned but heartily endorsed by the Klan was the 
anti-Catholic Fellowship Forum (Washington, D. C), undoubt- 
edly the most influential periodical which was circulated among 
Pennsylvania Klansmen with official sanction. 

Among the documentary materials are such important items 
as the Charter of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan granted by 
the Superior Court of Fulton County, Georgia; The Constitution 
and Laws of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc. (Atlanta 
1921, 1926); W. J. Simmons: Imperial Instructions, Document 
No. I (Atlanta 1918) ; The Kloran or White Book (Atlanta 
1916) ; The Minutes of the Imperial Kloncilium, May 1 and 2, 
1923 (Atlanta, 1923) containing copies of the litigation instituted 
by W. J. Simmons against H. W. Evans and the Knights of the 
Ku Klux Klan ; Papers Read at the First Annual Meeting of the 
Grand Dragons (Atlanta, 1923) ; The Proceedings of Imperial 
Klonvokations , not all of which were published as were The 
Proceedings of the Second Imperial Klonvokation at Kansas City, 
Missouri (N. P., 1924) ; Klansman's Manual (1924) compiled 
and issued under the direction of the Knights of the Ku Klux 
Klan. An indispensable source for the early history of the move- 
ment in the South is The Ku Klux Klan, Hearings before the 
Rules Committee of the House of Representatives, 67th Congress, 
First Session (Washington, 1921). 

The "Minutes" of the various Realm Kloreros in Pennsylvania 
were sometimes mimeographed (often in abridged or deleted 
form) and circulated among the local Klans. The files of the 
Pennsylvania Realm Office are neither complete nor available to 
non-members of the Order. The personal files of Van A. Bar- 
rickman, Esq., of Pittsburgh, John F. Strayer of McKeesport, 
A. L. Cotton of West View, and of Lemuel Peebles of Kittanning 
are as complete, perhaps, as those possessed by any individuals 

Critical Essay on Bibliography 


in western Pennsylvania. Dayton Laubach and William G. See- 
miller, both of Philadelphia, have important personal collections 
of material. Most of the official correspondence, the minutes 
of meetings and literature sent from the state or national head- 
quarters for distribution which was once in the possession of 
former Kligrapps (secretaries) of local Klaverns has not been 
preserved. When the Order was discredited, much of this ma- 
terial was considered to be dangerously implicating and was de- 
stroyed. Some was collected by state officials. What disposition 
they made of it is not known by this writer. Court records of 
the litigation growing out of the Carnegie and Lilly riots are 
available at Pittsburgh and Ebensburg. Most important of all 
Klan suits was Case No. 1897 in Equity in the U. S. District 
Court for Western Pennsylvania (1927-1928), the files of which 
are available in the Post Office Building at Pittsburgh. 

Numerous general studies of the Ku Klux Klan have been 
published. Among the best balanced are Stanley Frost: The 
Challenge of the Klan (Indianapolis, 1924) and John M. Meck- 
lin: The Ku Khix Klan, a Study of the American Mind (N. Y. 
1924). Of somewhat less value is Henry P. Fry: The Modern 
Ku Klux Klan (Boston 1922). A scholarly evaluation of the 
movement as a phenomenon in American culture appears in 
Horace M. Kallen : Culture and Democracy in the United States 
(N. Y. 1924, p. 9-43). Reuben Maury: The Wars of the Godly 
(N. Y. 1928) and F. Tannenbaum : Darker Phases of the South 
(N. Y. 1924) treat the Klan critically but with considerable 

A list of selected readings from current periodicals and 
pamphlets has been compiled by Julia E. Johnson : The Ku Klux 
Klan (The Reference Shelf, i/no. 10, N. Y. 1923). Attempts 
to explain certain phases of the movement are made by F. Tan- 
nenbaum : The Ku Klux Klan, its Social Origin in the South 
(Century 105/873 Ap. 1923) and Frank Bohn: The Ku Klux 
Klan Interpreted (Amer. Jour, of Sociology 30/385, 1925). The 
Americanism of the Klan is competently debated in Is the Ku 
Klux Klan unAnierican, Pro and Con (Forum 75/305 Feb. 
: 1926); W. R. Pattangall: Is the Ku Klux Klan un-American? 
(Forum 74/321 S '25) ; H. W. Evans: The Klan, Defender of 

204 The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

Americanism (Forum 74/801 D '25) ; H. W. Evans: The Klan's 
Fight for Americanism (No. Amer. Rev. 223/33 Mar. '26). 

The early days of the Klan in Pennsylvania are briefly de- 
scribed in a short manuscript by Van A. Barrickman found in 
the personal papers of Rev. J. F. Strayer. Statistical information 
relative to the membership of local Klans is scattered through the 
affidavits and testimony made in connection with the Klan suit 
No. 1897 in Equity mentioned above. 

The Klan Changes Hands: 

For the ousting of Simmons from the control of the Klan see 
Depositions of William J. Simmons and of D. C. Stephenson 
filed as evidence in the Klan suit No. 1897 in Equity. These 
depositions are reproduced in abridged form in Behind the White 
Mask of the Ku Klux Klan (Scottdale, 1928) compiled by J. 
F. Strayer, C. S. Hunter and W. C. Davis. See also W. J. 
Simmons: The Klan Unmasked (Atlanta, 1923) and America's 
Menace (Atlanta, 1926). The litigation which followed the oust- 
ing of Simmons is reproduced together with a discussion be- 
tween the Evans and Simmons factions within the national execu- 
tive council in The Minutes of the Imperial Kloncilium of May 
1 and 2, 1923 (Atlanta, 1923). 

The hearings subsequent to the murder of Thomas Abbott 
are printed in The Martyred Klansman (no author, Pgh. 1923). 
The evidence submitted in the trial of Patrick McDermott for 
the murder of Abbott is available in the Allegheny County Build- 
ing, Pittsburgh. The evidence submitted in the trial of the rioters 
at Lilly is available in the Court House at Ebensburg. 

The Organization of the Klan: 

Copies of The Constitution and Laws of the Knights of the 
Ku Klux Klan (Atlanta, 1921) were widely distributed and are 
generally available. Slightly revised The Constitution . . . was 
published again (Atlanta, 1926) and since that time minor amend- 
ments — chiefly strengthening the executive power — ^have been 
passed in the national Klonvokations. The Kourier magazine does 
not reproduce these amendments and one must go to The Pro- 
ceedings ... of the Klonvokations in question to find them. 
Important interpretations of the Klan Constitution and Laws . . . 

Critical Essay on Bibliography 


given by national officials are reported in the Minutes of the 
(Pemia.) State Klorero, December 6, 1924 (mimeographed). The 
government of the military branch of the Order is set forth in 
The Constitution of the Klavaliers of the Knights of the Ku 
Klux Klan of the State of Pennsylvania. A few of the General 
Orders of the Klavalier Commander-in-Chief are available in 
private collections. Lemuel Peebles (sometimes written Peoples) 
of New Kensington and Otto Guilden have important papers in 
their possession relative to the Klavaliers. 

Regarding the practical administration of the Klan in Penn- 
sylvania, there is much valuable testimony filed in connection 
with the Klan suit No. 1897 in Equity. Especially important is 
the testimony of Joseph Shoemaker, organizer and for a time 
officer in charge of Chartered Klans in the Realm, Grand Dragon 
Herbert C. Shaw, Lemuel Peebles, one of the early organizers 
of the Realm, Roy Barclay and John B. Davis, investigators or 
G-men, and dozens of Exalted Cyclops of local Klaverns. 

Fraternalism : 

The Oath of Allegiance and The Ku Klux Klan Kreed con- 
tain typical statements of the self-sacrificing clannishness which 
the founder of the Order hoped to inculcate in its members. 
The expression of this fraternalism in local Klaverns through 
committee activities is outlined in The Klan in Action (Pamphlet 
F-102, no date). Social activities which became a feature of 
the "Demonstrations," "field meets" and picnics of the Order are 
evidenced in the hand-bills and posters used to advertise these 
afifairs and in the printed programs which were prepared in some 
cases. Considerable space is given to the social activities of Penn- 
sylvania Klansmen in The Kourier Magazine under Pennsylvania 
Notes. Circular letters mailed periodically from Grand Dragon 
Shaw's office contain many references to demonstrations and 
social gatherings which were given official approval. Record of 
the charitable activities of local Klaverns was sometimes kept by 
the Kligrafifs and after 1925 appeared in the Klaveni minutes as 
the reports of Welfare Committees. Donations to the Lilly and 
Abbott funds were often reported in The Kourier Magazine. 
Information regarding the administration of these funds occurs 
in the Transcript of Testimony, Case 1897 in Equity and in the 

206 The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

Minutes of the State Klorero, December 7, 1924 (mimeographed). 
The Klan Haven Association is discussed in the Mary I. Goodwin- 
Van A. Barrickman correspondence of February 1928 (Private 
Papers of J. F. Strayer). 

Political Activities: 

Of all the activities of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan there 
are none concerning which there is less documentary evidence 
than those in the field of local politics. Secrecy was most care- 
fully observed here. Some anonymous cards are preserved en- 
titled The People's Choice, others with the heading Vote for 
Candidates Endorsed by the Patriotic League . . . which con- 
tained lists of candidates approved by local Klans in secret kon- 
klave. The "Counter Claim" filed by the defendants in the Klan 
suit No. 1897 in Equity contains charges against the Order for 
un-American political practices but little evidence was submitted 
during the trial in substantiation of these political charges. The 
personal testimony of former Klansmen is almost the only source 
of information on local political action. There was, of course, 
no attempt to cover up Klan opposition to Catholic candidates or 
to political activities by Catholic clergy. On this point the Klan 
attitude is summarized by Imperial Wizard Evans : The Cath- 
olic Question as Viewdd by the Ku Klux Klan (Current Hist. 
26/563 July 1927). The Klan's poHtical strength was estimated 
by Evans : Ballots Behind the Ku Klux Klan (Worlds Work 
55/243 Jan. 1928). The best account of the Klan's anti-Catholic 
political activities appears in Michael Williams : The Sliadow of 
the Pope (N. Y. 1932). This work is well documented and is 
especially good for the 1924 and 1928 campaigns against Alfred 
E. Smith. Little of the material used in this work, however, 
is drawn from the Pennsylvania Realm. For the Klan's political 
activities in this state, of special importance are the addresses of 
Grand Dragon Rich and Imperial Wizard Evans delivered at 
Conneaut Lake and reported in the Pittsburgh Gazette Times of 
October 7, 1924 ; a mimeographed communication from the Realm 
Office entitled The Klan and the Roman Hierarchy (June 16, 
1927) ; two folders distributed by Realm officials: The Ku Klux 
Klan Discloses its Position on the Presidency (1927) and Why 
the Ku Klux Klan Opposed the World Court (1927) ; and the 

Critical Essay on Bibliography 207 

mimeographed catechisms: A Presidential Meeting and The Mexi- 
can Question. Detailed election returns for the presidential elec- 
tions of 1924 and 1928 are available in Pennsylvania State 
Manud, 1925-1926 and Pennsylvania Manual, 1929. The texts 
of the klan Bills, Nos. 1022-1025 inclusive, introduced during 
the 1927 session of the Assembly are available in the Library of 
the Senate at Harrisburg. 

Religious Activities: 

For the religious tone of the national and state conventions 
of the Klan the "Proceedings" and "Minutes" of Klonvokations 
and Kloreros are valuable. The religious elements in the initiations 
and ritual are set forth in The Kloran or White Book (1916). 
There was also an official Klan Funeral Service (mimeographed) . 
Church visitations and donations were usually reported in the 
local press. The Belleview visitation received national publicity 
(Literary Digest, May 5, 1923). For Klan hymnology the collec- 
tion of hymns and songs edited by Rev. P. S. Wight: American 
Hymns (Buffalo, no date) is typical. Much of the more popular 
Klan music was recorded and purchasable as Victrola records. 

Discussion of the general religious issues between the Klan 
and various religious groups is contained in: George S. Clason: 
Catholic, Jew, Ku Klux Klan: What they believe— where they 
conflict (Chicago, 1924); W. E. Garrison: Catholicism, and the 
American Mind (Chicago, 1928) ; Thomas M. Conroy: The Ku 
Klux Klan and the American Clergy (Ecclesiastical Rev. 70/47 
Jan. 1924) ; H. W. Evans : The Klan of Tomorrow and The 
Klan Spiritual (Kan. City 1924) ; Protestants Disowning the 
Ku Klux {Literary Digest 75/33 Nov. 25, 1922). 

The Klan and the Schools: 

The Klan position regarding education is stated by H. W. 
Evans: The Public School Problem in America (1924) and 
by an official Klan pamphlet entitled The Obligation of American 
Citizens to Free Public Schools (no date). The Catholic point 
of view is adequately revealed in J. A. Burns: Catholic Educa- 
tion (N. Y.. 1917) and in P. J. McCormick: History of Edu- 
cation (Washington, 1915). The Klan's arguments against what 
they called un-American text-books were largely taken from the 


The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

pamphlets of C. G. Miller, one of W. R. Hearst's devotees who 
expanded his findings and published them later under the title 
The Poisoned Loving-Cup (Chicago, 1928). 

The Women of the Ku Klux Klan 

For the organization of the women's Order and its relation 
to the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan see Proceedings of the 
Second Imperial Klonvokation, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan 
(1924) p. 110-130. The organization of the women's Order 
is set forth in The Constitution and Laws of the Women of the 
Ku Klux Klan (1923). The private files of the former Excel- 
lent Commander, Mrs. Mary I. Goodwin (Birmingham, Ala- 
bama) are the richest private source for the history of the Order 
during its first four years in Pennsylvania. Among the private 
papers of Rev. John F. Strayer of McKeesport are copies of 
many of the documents in Mrs. Goodwin's possession. The 
Goodwin-Barrickman correspondence is rich in material. Ir- 
regular Bulletins of the Meetings of Klan Haven Association 
were issued. Especially important is that dated April 22, 1927. 
Also valuable are the letters by Imperial Representative Martha 
Tumley addressed to all Klanswomen under dates of February 
21 and August 1, 1927. Considerable data of unequal worth 
appears in the evidence submitted in connection with the Klan 
suit No. 1897 in Equity. Among the more important items in 
these records are the Deposition of Imperial Commander Robbie 
Gill Comer and the affidavits filed by Cora V. Brubaker, Cecelia 
Sacrey and Mary I. King. 

The Decline of the Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania 

Apparently authentic statistics of Klan membership by states 
appeared in the Washington Post for November 2, 1930, Section 
I, pages 1 and 14. While no source for the statistics is given, 
Klan officials to whom the writer has submitted the statistics 
of Klan membership in Pennsylvania have judged them ac- 
curate. For the controversy within Philadelphia County over 
P. M. Winter's leadership, the private files of Dayton Laubach 
and of William G. Seemiller are most important sources of in- 
formation. P. M. Winter has stated his own point of view in 
What Price Tolerance (Washington, 1928). The Transcript of 

Critical Essay on Bibliography 


Testimony, Case 1897 in Equity contains considerable testimony 
relative to the Black Robed Gang of Philadelphia. 

For the open hostility in western Pennsylvania over the ad- 
ministration of Sam D. Rich, the best printed collection of 
documents and correspondence for the years 1926 and 1927 is 
The Decline of the Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania (No place, 
December 31, 1927) compiled by J. F. Strayer, C. S. Hunter 
and W. C. Davis as a Report of the Committee of Ten to Co- 
operating Klansmen (subtitle). The Court Records of Case 
1897 in Equity include scores of affidavits, many exhibits, two 
folio volumes of testimony and lengthy depositions by W. J. 
Simmons, D. C. Stephenson and Robbie Gill Comer. Long 
excerpts from the depositions of Simmons and Stephenson to- 
gether with some of the testimony regarding the Black Robed 
Gang and the Decision of Judge Thompson are reproduced 
under title of Behind the White Mask of the Ku Klux Klan 
(237 pages, Scottdale, 1928). This was compiled by Strayer, 
Hunter, and Davis as a second Report of the Committee of Ten 
to Cooperating Klansmen. 

One of the chief organizers and state officials prior to 1926 
who incidentally took no part in the Klan trial, namely, A. L. 
Cotton, had in his possession (1933) — so he said — the member- 
ship rolls of the Realm and other valuable documentary ma- 
terials but refused to allow this writer any access to them. 


Abbott Fund, 92 
Abbott, Thomas. 53, 92 
AUentown Klan, 29, 197 
Altoona Klan, 27, 187 , . _ 

American Printing & Manufacturing Co., 

American Party, 4, 99 

American Protective Association, 8-15, 99; 
founding, 8; religious and economic 
causes for growth, 9-10; Catholic 
school issue, 10; press, 10-11; results, 

A. P. A. Magazine, 10 
American Protestant Union, 4 
American Republican Party, 4 
"American System", the, 3 
Anglicans, 2 , a 

Anti-Catholic principles, Klan. 103 a. 
Atkins, F. W., 25, 27 
Atlanta Klan, 48 
Audit of 1924-1925, Klan, 81-82 

Bailes, L. P., 9in ^ ^. ,, 

Banishment: method of, 75; Wizards 
power of, 75-76 ; controversy over, 167 
fi. ; of Barrickman and Strayer, 188 

Barclay, Roy 52, 55, 56 

Barker, 7 

Barr, Mrs. Daisy Douglas, 152, 159 

Barrickman, Van A., 84, 186. 188-190, 195 

Behling, Mrs. Minnie. 92 

Bell, A. H., 185 

Bennett Law, 10 

"Bible Commonwealth", 2 

Bible reading in schools, 5. 139-140 

Bible Readings for Schools, by Nathan C. 

Schaeffer, 141 
Black Robed Gang. 60. 171 flE. 
B'Nai B'Rith, 99 
Bolan, Harry, 55 
Bowers, H. F., 8 

Boycott: of Catholics. 94; of Klansmen, 
170 fl. 

Bristol demonstration, 57 

Brown Office Building. 80 

Brulus Letters, by S. F. B. Morse. 4 

Bryan. William Jennings. 165 

Bucke. Rev. J. E. A., 127 

Burns, J. A. 135 

Butler, Calvin, 187 

Cantey, William O.. 170-171 

Cantey. Mrs. William O. (Pearl). 158 ff. 

Canwin Klan. 157» 

Carlberg, A. T., 180 

Carnegie Demonstration and Riot, 52 tt, 92 

Carrol Hall Ticket, 4 

Catasauqua Klan, 198 

"Catholic Bible." 140. 141 . 

Catholic Church: growth of. 6. 9; emphasis 

on Unity. 104; school policy, 10, 135 


Catholic Clergy and the Solution, 132 
Catholic Observer, 194 
Catholic University, 106 
Central Klan #32 (Pittsburgh), 180 
Charities, Klan, 88 ff. 
Charters to Klans, granting of, 73 
Clark, Rev. J. R., 152 
Clarke. Edward Young. 18-27 passim; 48, 
59. 79 

Clay, Henry, 5 

Cleveland, Grover, election of, 12 

Colescott, James. 156. 187 

Comer. James A.. 34. 45. 94, 151, 155, 

159, 160, 166 
Committee of Ten. Western Penna., 184, 


Committees. Klan: Civic. Public Schools, 

Governmental. Intelligence, 78-79 ; 

Welfare, 90; Sick, Funerals and 

Lodges of Sorrow. 91 
Common schools: see Public Schools 
Communism. 116. 198 
Community Chests. 91 
Connaughton. J. H.. 196» 
Connellsville Klan, 197 
Constitution, Klan, Ch. v, passim, 62 ff., 

168; of Klavaliers, 76-77 
Coolidge. Calvin. 115 
Coraopolis Klan, 190 
Cotton. A. L.. 25-28. 49. 60, 151, 177 
Cotton, Mrs. A. L., 151 
Couch. Dr. G. D., 17 
Craig, Dr. W. R.. 127 
Cross Burnings. 58-59 
Curran, Rev. J. J.. 132 

Daily Dispatch Publishing Co.. 58. 95, 

181, 182 
Daugherty, Rev. J. F., 34, 130 
Daughters of the American Revolution, 116 
Davis. John B.. 73«, 177 
Davis. John W., Presidential nominee. 108 
Davis. William C. 190 
Davis, Mrs. William C, 151 
Democratic Party, attitude toward nativists, 

5, 109 

Demonstrations, Klan, 50-57. 87 ff.. 92. 176 
Dempster. Rev. W. J., 34. 52. 120. 130- 
131. 182 

Dent, Rev. Fred R., 34, 130, 177 
Depressions, economic: of 1873, 8 ; of 1893, 

12 ; post-war, 25. 165 
Detroit Klonvokation of Women's Order. 


Doge, The, portrait by Bellini. 146 
Donations to churches and ministers, 91 ff-, 

Doylestown Klan. 198 
Dues, Klan, see Revenues 
Duquesne Klan, 190 

Edge, J. A., 185 

Edwards Compulsory School Law, 10 
Elections: of 1844, 5; of 1854. 7 ; of 1892. 

12; of 1896. 13; of 1920. 38; of 

1924, 108; of 1928, 108-111 
Emperor of Klan, powers of, 64 
Empire Mutual Life Insurance Co.. 94-95 
English Junto. 2 

Eucharistic Congress. Chicago, 15, 108, 110 
Evans, Hiram Wesley (Imperial Wizard). 

35, 45, 52-54. 59-60, 67, 79, 109. 

119, 150«, 187 ff. 

Faribault Plan, 10 

Federal Department of Education, proposed, 

Fellowship Forum, 83, 110, 125, 147, 153. 

182, 183 ff.. 194, 196 
Firearms, use of, 57 




Fleming, Rev. J. E., 34 
Flowers Product Co., 95. 180 ff. 
Forgery of Encyclical, 11 
Forrest, General Nathan B., 48 
Fraternalism, 86-96 passim 
Frazier, Samuel, 26 
Freeman, Morris E., 28 
Frost, Stanley, 41 

Gates City Robe Factory, 94 

Gibbons, Cardinal, 15 

Gildcn, Otto G., lln 

Gill, Miss Robie, 150-151, 157, 159 

G-men, Klan, 68 

Goodrich, Mrs. Claudia, 156 

Goodwin, Mrs. Mary I., 151-155, 159-160 

Grady, Judge Henry A. of N. Car., 47 

Grand Dragons, selection and functions of, 

66, 68, 77 
Grand Tribunal, 74 
Greene, Ward, 16, 19 
Greensburg Klan, 178 
Grise, George P., 182 
Guardians of Liberty, 15 

Hamburg Klan, 197 
Hamilton, Alexander, 2 
Harrisburg Wreckers, 60 
Harvey, "Coin". 197 
Hazelwood Klan, 102 
Heflin, Thomas A., 34, 109, 198 
Heidler, I. F., 180 
Hitler, Chancellor Adolf, 116 
Holy Alliance, 3 
Homestead Act, 8 
Homestead Klan, 27, 190 
Homestead Wreckers, 55, 60 
Hoover, Herbert, 110 
Horner, Franklin, 157w 
Houston Convention of Democratic Party, 

Howard, H. C, 55 
Hubbard, Elbert, 11 
Hummelstown Klan, 198 
Hunter, Dr. Charles S., 190 
Hylan, Mayor, 165 

I. K. K. D. of F., 172 ff. 

Immigration: Irish, 6; Catholic, 15; Quota 

Act, 1924, 113 
Imperial Palace, 80 
Imperial Wizard, powers of, 65 ff. 
Imps, 164 

Independent Klan, the, 175 

Indiana (Pa.) Klan, 96 

Indictments: of Sam Rich, 180; of Strayer, 

Barrickman, et al., 190 
International Music Company, 40 
Irish immigrants, 3 
Irwin Klan, 96 

Jacobins, 2 
Jeffersonian, The, 17 
Johnstown Democrat, The, 194 
Johnstown Klan, 27 

Junction City (Jeannette) Klan, 180, 190 
Junior Order of American Mechanics, 99 
Junior Order of the K. K. K., 68 

Kellogg, Frank B., 115 
Keystone American, 58, 147 
Keystone State Klan, 180 
K. D. of F. 172 ff. 
Kidney, Elmer, 129 
Klan Haven, 89, 93, 154, 197 

Klan Haven Association, 154 ff. ; reorgani- 
zation, 156 ff. 

Klavaliers, 76 ff. 

Kleagle, functions of, 71 ff. 

Klectoken, 20, 25, 68, 73, 74, 79 

Kloncilium, structure and powers of, 64 ff. 

Klonvokation: organization and functions, 
63 ff. ; of 1922, 45-46, 149; of 1924, 
120, 187>; 

Klorero: organization and functions, 6869; 
at DuBois, 70, 187 

Knights Kamellia (K-Duo), 76, 81, 164 

Knights of Columbus, 99, 112, 115 

Knights of the Great Forest, 76 

Knights of the Ku Klux Klan: founding, 
15 ff.; lawlessness, 20-21, 60, 191-194; 
exposures and investigations, 21-23; 
membership in Pa., 30, 162 ; principles, 
31-34, 86 ff., 98 ff., 118 ff., 134 ff.. 
139, 163 ; lectures, 34; strategy, 35; 
types of activities, 20, 39-44, 86 ff., 122 
ff., 142 ff., 191 ; ousting of Simmons, 
45-48 ; Evans-Stephenson regime, 48 ff. ; 
demonstrations, 50 ff. ; type of people 
joining, 60; organization, 62 ff. ; So- 
cial activities, 86 ff. ; business enter- 
prises, 95 ff. ; political principles and 
activities, 97 ff. ; criteria for choice of 
candidates, 102 ff. ; anti-catholic em- 
phasis, 103 ff. ; opposition to LafoUette 
and Al. Smith, 108 ff. ; legislation 
sponsored in Pa., 112 ff.; hostility to 
World Court and League of Nations, 
113 ff.; Klan Kreed and Ritual, 118; 
Songs, 121; church visitations, 122 ff. ; 
religious effects of Klan, 124-130; 
hostility to Catholic schools and 
teachers, 135, 144 ff. ; Bible and flag 
donations, 142 ; subsidizes women's 
Order, 150; decline of Klan, 162 ff. ; 
criticism of leaders and policies by 
Klansmen, 163 ff. ; trouble in eastern 
Pa., 169 ff. ; indictment of Rich, 176- 
184; criticism of Herbert Shaw, 186 
ff. ; banishments land revocation 0:6 
charters, 188 ff. ; the $100,000 damage 
suit, 191 ff. ; effects, 194 ff. 

Know Nothing Party, vi, 6-8 

Kourier Magazine, 71, 83, 95, 147, 194, 

Kreed, Klan, 118 
Kwand degree, 164, 197 

LaFollette, Robert M., 108 
Lambing, Father, 54 
Lancaster Klan, 96 
Latrobe Klan, 190 
Laubach, Dayton, 171 ff. 
Lawlessness, Klan, 20-21, 60, 191 ff. 
Lawrence, Charles, 158, 169 
League of Nations, 38, 113 ff. 
Leechburg Klan, 190, 192 
Legislation, proposed by Klan, 112 ff. 
Lehighton Klan, 73n 
Lehman, Rev. Bruce, 34 
Leo XIII, 11 

Lewis, Charles B., 156, 174 
Liberals, Klan criticism of, 35-36 
Liberty Bell Klan (Phila.), 169, 172 
Lilly fund, 92, 183 
Lilly riot, 56, 92 
Lincoln Klan, 27, 176 

Literary Digest, Klan hostility toward, 146 

Littleton, Rev. I. B., 127 

Lopus, Sam, 179 

Lusk Laws. 38 

Lyle, Dr. David M., 127 




McCall, H. C, 45 
McDivitt, Dr. Michael, 127-129 
McKeesport Klan, 180 
McNeel, Harry, 26, 58 
Markwell, Mrs. Lulu A., 150, 159 
Marriage, Klan attitude toward, 107, 112, 

Martyred Klansman, The, 53 

Masonic Order, 99 -• ,„ rr 

Membership of Klan in Pa., vii, 30 ff., 162 

Menace, The, 15, 125 

Mer Rouge murders, 146 

Metternich, Age of, 1 

Mexican intervention, 109, 115 

Miles, John C, 43, 181 

Military Line of Communication, 78 

Military Order of Klavaliers, 76 ft. 

Miller, James A., 55, 84 

Morse, Samuel F. B., 4 

Mt. Pleasant Klan, 27, 176 

Muzzey, Dr. David S., vui, 146 

Napoleon, Age of, 1 , ^ , , 
National Department of Education and 

Publicity, Klan, 147 
National Service Club, 94 
Native American Party, 4, 99 
Nativism: definition, vi, (1) ; organized 

nationally, 4 
Naturalization ceremony, Klan, 118 
Nevins, Rev. Clyde, 129 
New Haven Klan, 17 5« 
New Kensington Klan, 27 
New York Evening Post, 195 
Netv York World, exposure of Klan, 21, 

23, 194 . ^, . 

Night Riders, in Reading, 60; in Ohio, 


Non Silba Club, 184 

Oborn, Cornelius B., 189» 

Offenses, major Klan, 75 

Old Glory Klan (Phila.), 169 

Omaha American, 10 

Orbison, James, 159, 185 

Order of the Star Spangled Banner, 6 

Organization, Klan: national, 62 ft. ; 
Realm, 67 ff. ; Provincial, 70 ff. ; Klan- 
ton, 71 ff. ; higher degrees, 76; Klava- 
liers, 77 ff. ; military line of communi- 
cation, 78 ; revenues, 79 ff. 

Orphanage, Klan, see Klan Haven 

Oyer, Dr. Charles F., 184 ff, 190 

Papal infallibility, 104, 107 

Parochial school issue, 4, 5, 10, 134 

Patriotic American, The, 11 

Patriotic Order of the Sons of America, 99 

Patriots of America, 197 

Pattangall, W. L., 35 

Peebles, Lemuel, 26, 29, 55, 57, 108, 177 

"Pennsylvania Dutch", 29, 87, 123 

Perkasie Klan, 198 

Pinchot, Gifford, 93, 108, 154 

Pledge of Loyalty of Kleagle, 72 

Political candidates, Klan, 99 ff. 

Political hostility to Catholics and foreign- 
ers, 102 ff., 106 ff. 

Political principles, Klan, 97 ff. 

Pottsville Klan, 198 

Presbyterian Banner, The, 126» 

Press: criticism of Klan, 21-23, 58, 194 ; 
Klan, see Kourier Magazine, Daily 
Dispatch, Keystone American, Fellow- 
ship Forum 

Public Schools: Klan attitude toward, 134 
ff. ; democratic control of, 136; con- 
solidation, 137-138; Klan criteria for. 
139, Bible reading in, 139 ff. ; flag 
donations to, 143 

Quincy, Josiah, 3 
Quakers, 2 

Rail Splitter Press, 38 

Ransey, Kyle, 45, 70, 184, 186, 187 

Ransdell, U. S. Senator of Louisiana, 132 

Reading demonstration, 57 

Reading Klan, 198 

Reed, Sen. James, 113 

Religious influence on Klan members, 124 
Revenues, Klan ; Imperial, 79-80 ; Realm, 

80-81 ; local, 82 
Revocation of charters, 168, 190 
Rich, Sam D., 25-27, 49, 52, 59, 108, 

151, 161, 166, 176-186 passim, 192 
Risher, Carl, 26 
Robes, Klan, 79 

Robinson, J. T., U. S. Senator from 

Arkansas, 109 
Robinson, W. L., 186-187 

SatoUi, Msgr., 10 
Saul, Rev. J. F. V., 17 
Savage, Fred L., 22 
Schaeffer, Nathan C, 141 
Schnecksville Klan, 198 
Schools: see Parochial schools. Public 

Schuylkill Haven Klan, 198 
Scottdale demonstration, 54-56 
Scottdale Klan, 55, 84, 97, 196 
Secrecy: of Know Nothings, 7 ; of Klan, 

21, 22, 101 
Seemiller, William G., 171, 174 
Service Clubs, 91 
Sesqui Centennial (Phila.), 108 
Shaw, Herbert C, 59. 70-71, 107-109, 187 

ff., 192 ff. 
Shoemaker, Joseph, 26, 177, 192 
Simmons, William J., 16, 27, 45, 59, 79. 


Sinking Spring Klan, 198 

Smail, James B., 179 

Smith, Alfred E., '108 ff., 196 

Songs, Klan, 121 ff. 

Southern Publicity Association, 18 

Spratt, Grand Dragon, 187 

Stephenson, D. C, 30, 46, 48-49, 166 

Stough, Grand Dragon, 71 

Strayer, Rev. John P., viii, 34, 88, 178, 

186, 195 
Super-Secret Society, 171 ff. 
Suspension of Klansmen, 167. 179 

Taylor. A. B.. 88 

Taylor. Berwin A., 169 

Taxes, Klan, 79-81 

Thompson, "Big Bill", 165 

Thompson, Judge W. H. S., 193 ff. 

Tip-toe Traitors, 2 

Titles of Klan officials, 62n 

Tories, 3 

Trial of Strayer, Barrickman et al., 191 

Tribunals, Klan; 74-75, 167 

Triple-S Society, see Super-Secret Society 

Tumulty, Joe, 106 

Turner, Walter, 169 

Turnley, Miss Martha, 156, 160 

Twenty-Six Club, 17 5 

Tyler, Mrs. Elizabeth (Bessie), 18-19, 23 



U. S. District Court for Western Penna., 

Urmy, Dr. R. B., 129 S- 
Ursuline Convent, 4 

Vance, James S., 182 ff. 
Vandergrift Klan, 190 
Vare, William S., 188 
Vatican, 198 
Volstead Act, 105 

Walkinshaw, Lewis C, 196« 
Warren G. Harding Klan (Phila.), 169, 

Waynesboro Klan, 87 
Weber, George S., 112 
Westmoreland County Klan, 178 
Whitesell, Frank A., 169 
Wight, P. W., 88, 121 
Wilkinsburg Klan, 177 

William Penn Klan: in Phila., 169; m 

Pittsburgh, 184, 189n, 190 
Williams, Rev. G. A., 34 

Williams, Michael, editor Commonweal. 

Wilson, Woodrow, }8, 106 

Winter, Paul M., 60, 158 ff., 161, 169 ff. 

Women of the Ku Klux Klan: jom men's 
Order in social affairs. 87 ; Bible dona- 
tions of, 142 ; founding, 149 ; spread 
into Pa., 151; activities, 152 ff. ; Klan 
Haven, 154 ff.; opposition to Mrs. 
Goodwin, 155 ff.; difficulties in Phila. 
county, 158 ff.; replacement of Mrs. 
Goodwin, 160 ; secession and decline, 
160 ff. 

Women's Christian Patriotic League, 161 
Woods, H. C, 92 
World Court, 113 ff- 
World War debt, 114 

Yellow Dog degree, 83, 164 
York Klan, 197 

Zumbrunn, Attorney for Evans, 185 ff.